But a recent radio talk show on the importance of innovation and entrepreneurship in the South African economy, made me think. What are the opportunities for innovation and entrepreneurship in the e-commerce environment?
The easiest example is probably the online sales platform. Without the infrastructure and cost of a physical store, entrepreneurs have the opportunity to sell their products to a wide audience. From mealworms to bicycles that grow with your kid…
But much more than just an alternative way of selling, technology allows entrepreneurs with enough creativity to go to town and today the dynamic technology industry is orchestrating how we sell. To understand the importance of technology brands in today’s word, see insights from the 2017 BrandZ™ report:
- Apple and Google are the No. 1 and 2 brands in the Global Top 100 Brand list, each valued at almost $250 billion (combined, about the GDP of Sweden).
- Amazon entered the Global Top 10 at No. 4, with a 41% increase in brand value, to $139 billion.
- 37 technology brands comprised 54% of the 2017 Global Top 100 value. (In 2006, 30 technology brands comprised 37% of value.)
- Technology brands in the Global Top 100 increased 16% year-on-year, compared with a 4% increase for other brands.
- The 7 Newcomer brands in this year’s Global Top 100 are all technology-related: YouTube, HPE, Salesforce, Netflix, Snapchat, and telecom providers Xfinity and Sprint.
- The evolution of the Global Top 10 over the past 12 years reflects the dominance of technology and the disruptive impact of the global financial crisis, technological innovation, and changing consumer attitudes about health.
- Only 3 brands that appeared in the Global Top 10 in 2006 – Google, Microsoft, and IBM – remain in the Top 10 in 2017.
- Equally revealing is the presence of three brands in the Top 5 that were not even in the Top 10 just 12 years ago. The innovative technology of these brands – Apple, Amazon, and Facebook – has disrupted categories and improved people’s lives worldwide. The presence of the Chinese internet portal Tencent also indicates the power of technology, along with China’s evolution to a more competition-driven economy.
- The presence of Amazon, and the disappearance of Walmart (now No. 31), reflect the massive disruption of the retail category by e-commerce.
The online space is where it is at – from small start-ups and services such as personal styling, tracking your work-outs or finding an apartment (here are a few success stories) to entrepreneurs whose online endeavours resulted in big business (read about it here).
Another opportunity is in servicing these new e-commerce entrepreneurs who might know what they want to sell, but need help keeping up with technology, marketing, distribution, conversion optimisation, social media, etc. Click here for some e-commerce companies that lead the way in supporting the online businesses.
The online world of wine took off with Gary Vaynerchuk’s wine library and today there are many blogs and pages sharing tips on wine and its associations such as food and lifestyle. (One of my favourites is WineFolly.com) And then there are a host of sales platforms for wine – some dedicated wine pages such as Capreo.com, some as part of a retail offering such as the Tesco online portfolio and the giants of e-commerce such as Amazon also includes wine as part of their offer.
While most of us are trying to streamline our commerce sites and distribution and trying to target and make the most of our online marketing, it seems that somehow we are not yet innovative enough when it comes to selling wine – or the experience of wine – online. Let’s get thinking.