Here are my impressions on Slow Travel Stockholm.
It’s not about New Year’s resolutions but about listening to your instincts. If you’re your own best friend, you’ll never let yourself down.–AG Communications
One of the best mingles of the season
The American Chamber of Commerce in Sweden is a robust organization that provides an excellent platform for business education, mentorship, networking and mingles.
Led by Peter Dahlen, pictured at the microphone, their yearly programs keep getting better and better. He has an excellent team.
One of their partner members is the Sheraton Stockholm which provided the perfect venue for the Holiday Mingle.
And as President of the American Women’s Club in Stockholm the AmCham Holiday Mingle gave me and our Club’s Vice President the opportunity to wish everyone a Merry Christmas, Happy Hannakah, and Happy Holidays.
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People are nervous.
So AmCham Sweden put together a brown bag lunch.
They invited Pew Research.
And the best pollster in Sweden to compare how polling works here.
And I was invited to speak on a panel about the midterms and transatlantic trade.
I represented the Democrats because I am a DNC Member.
Other panelists were a former Republican and head of Public Affairs at a big firm in Stockholm and a lobbyist from Capitol Hill. The moderator is a foreign correspondent with TT.
It was the first time I was presented with flowers which is a Swedish tradition. The last time I spoke was at a Democrats Abroad event in Gothenburg and I was given a t-shirt I wanted. The first time I spoke at a Democrats Abroad event in Gothenburg I was given a party mascot. Both were perfect for me. I am embracing the Swedish and appreciating the American ways of doing things.
And always the best thing about attending AmCham Sweden events is the opportunity to network, network, network. Regardless of the 2018 US Midterm election results AmCham Sweden will be here to ensure that cooperation among US and Swedish businesses will thrive.
Like a digital Big Bang, the Internet exploded in the 1990s, becoming a mainstream commodity that connected us with people, services, products, and companies we might never have known about otherwise. With the subsequent advent of eCommerce and social media, there have been countless purchases made and cyber-friendships to have blossomed, made possible by the digital landscape of the World Wide Web.
There’s no denying that online shopping and social networks are poised to usurp the brick-and-mortar retail and face-to-face social interactions that were mainstays of yesteryear. In fact, eCommerce mega-giant Amazon and social maven Facebook will turn 25 and 15 years old, respectively, at some point in the next year. Will we be seeing such iconic brands maintaining the ubiquity cultivated over two decades, or will there be significant evolution in the worlds of eCommerce and social media between now and the not-too-distant future?
Where is eCommerce headed?
It used to be that we made our purchases at brick-and-mortar stores. When we needed to buy something — whether groceries, clothes, or a birthday gift — we had to get in the car, drive to a retail store, shop for whatever item we needed, buy the item, and return home. Remember that?
If your answer is “No,” you’re not alone. There’s a growing population of individuals who came of age after the digital Big Bang, meaning that eCommerce (i.e., shopping online) was already well-established by the time they were old enough to make their own purchases. So rather than transitioning from brick-and-mortar to eCommerce retail, these younger generations have always been able to buy things from the comfort of their own homes, or even when they’re on-the-go by using their smartphones.
There’s no discussing the world of eCommerce without mentioning Amazon, which dominates with an estimated 41 percent of the eCommerce marketing. In just the next few years, Amazon is poised to account for over half of all web-based retail.
But there’s another reason why Amazon is significant.
Having started in 1994 as an online book retailer, Amazon evolved. Over its 25-year tenure, the retail has grown to become the biggest online general retailer, offering a diverse array of products and brands. So a large part of Amazon’s success has been due to the fact that the retail offers virtually every type of product and even a diverse selection of services, including cloud storage, eBook publishing, streaming media, and the list goes on and on.
So as we attempt to gaze into our crystal ball to see what lies ahead for the world of eCommerce, perhaps Amazon’s evolution and growth can serve as a guide.
As mentioned above, Amazon was able to dominate the market by diversifying its catalog of products and services, so we could start seeing similar diversification among other players in the eCommerce space. Or from the perspective of a consumer, we could see consolidation as products, services, and even other established brands are folded into other companies. Ultimately, this would turn numerous transactions into one larger, more convenient transaction.
Of course, even with eCommerce being a driving force for retail at large, there’s are still some hurdles to jump, and one hurdle is particularly important: customer experience.
Sure, online shopping is more convenient, but you don’t get the kind of personalized experience that you might get when shopping in an actual, physical retail store. In many ways, the convenience of online shopping comes at a significant reduction in overall experience. But it seems like some there might already be a solution to this problem.
Social media: The “secret sauce” of eCommerce?
We’re already seeing countless industries — particularly those that are centered around digital products and services — turning to social media for things like marketing and building brand awareness. But as we move into the future, social media could have an increasingly prominent role in eCommerce, too.
When someone buys a product online, receives the product, and is extremely happy with that product, what is he or she likely to do next? If you said “Review the product,” you’d be correct.
Peer reviews have become a major driver of consumer interest and sales. We’ve all done it: Before making a purchase, you do a web search for reviews of that product to see what people are saying about it and to make sure past buyers haven’t had bad experiences before investing your own cash.
Social media is more and more a forum for sharing thoughts, experiences, and overall impressions of products and services. In fact, many retail leaders have already recognized how social media can drive sales and use the analytics from social media when crafting their marketing campaigns.
So in the future, we’re likely to continue to see social media playing a pivotal role in eCommerce. We might even reach the point of being able to make our online purchases right from the social posts that feature the desired products and services. This is something that might be coming down the pipeline sooner rather than later, especially as the eCommerce giants aim to make it easier for people to quickly buy the products and services they’re seeing on social media.
Dane O’Leary is a writer, tech journalist and regular contributor to TrustRadius where he shares his knowledge on the latest trends in B2B news and technologies. He has written editorials, articles, and blog posts for some of the most popular publications on the web, including Android Authority, Phone Arena, NeilPatel.com, and Millennial Magazine while also publishing regularly on his own website.
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Business as Usual
Last week I had the opportunity to attend an event hosted by the Swedish Chamber of Commerce for the United Kingdom: Welcome to the UK.
Participants heard from the British Ambassador to Sweden. His main message was that between Sweden and Britain, it is business as usual. The uncertainty inherent in Brexit has not put a damper on business in this regard.
SEB presented a summary of a survey jointly conducted with Deloitte titled What is in the minds of Swedish and British CFOs? My main take away is there is confidence on both sides – much much more than when Brexit was first decided.
Visit Sweden and VisitBritain talked about how Brexit might affect future trends in tourism. Swedes spend TONS of money in the UK and visits to London top the list. It seems the Brits need a bit more convincing that Sweden is a lot more than cold and dark.
Vistra, presented a brief guide to the Formation and Evolution of a Business in the UK, and two lawyers from J A Kemp tried to answer the question What is IP and why should a start-up care?. Somethings seem straightforward while others don’t. Don’t do it alone, get expert advice.
The evening began and concluded with good old fashion networking. The Chamber has been hosting this event for 11 years. Never has the future of this business relationship felt so uncertain because of Brexit. Thank goodness for the global Chambers of Commerce. Their expertise and network provide invaluable opportunities to learn and talk. Two fundamentals I can appreciate.
There I am, 3rd from the right, talking as usual. One highlight of the evening was the engaging conversation with several attendees in from England.