2023 in E-commerce: We all got faster this year!
Written by Max Riis Christensen
We used to talk about how fast the year went by, but this year it is different. This year, we got faster!
At least when it comes to writing, calculating, programming and even creating pictures, we were powered up by Large Language Models such as ChatGPT. It feels great to produce an excellent text in 2 minutes or create a little script that does magic with my data in Excel.
Looking back at 2023, the breakthrough of Large Language Models for the everyday user was definitely the most disruptive change to the e-commerce industry - but was it also the best thing? I will come back to this further down.
2023 was also a slow year
As consumers, we have been worried and holding back on our spending for the vast majority of the year. However, we are ending the year on a positive note with a slight increase in orders. With inflation more in control and interest rates that hopefully have peaked, we can have a little more faith in the future.
Online commerce is still gaining market shares and is growing in both € and %. Shopping online is convenient and effective - but it also has a price, and we slowly see it changing the streets.
A new balance?
When I walk around my neighbourhood just outside the city centre of Copenhagen, I see a couple of new things.
I see a high share of brand stores, international as well as local brands. To build and maintain a brand, you need more than access to the screen on a phone. A brand needs people to feel its values, the fabric, and the perfect fit. They need us to remember them when we sit on the train and realise we need a new jacket and to do that, they must take to the streets.
We also see more cafes, restaurants, bakeries (a Copenhagen thing, maybe; we have one every 100 meters!), potteries and other DIY shops, where you can create your own jewellery or clay design, and we can also get our nails polished in any colour.
Maybe we are finding a new balance where the streets are adjusting to a place we stroll when we have time. Time to enjoy a coffee, play around with clay or get some inspiration for a new outfit we plan to buy (online).
70 handwritten Christmas Cards
The breakthrough of Large Language Models was, without doubt, the most significant change to our work-life in 2023! But I also feel we are at the start of the learning curve. Many of the emails and messages I receive in my feed have an unmistakable scent of ChatGPT - some even poorly translated by the same tool.
Do we bother to read messages generated by a robot, or in other words, can you expect people to prioritise reading texts you don't have time to write? I don't think so, and that part of ChatGPT is not my favourite yet.
That is also why I - as a protest maybe - will handwrite the 70 Christmas cards to my colleagues at the office in Copenhagen. It takes time, and it makes my hand hurt, but it also feels good to think about each person for a few minutes and try to write a personal Christmas greeting. If I manage, they would read it and think about me for a few seconds too... And isn't that the idea about all the text we put out there?