The Future of Engagement is Purchase
In the digital world, engagement and eCommerce are becoming increasingly intertwined. Nowhere more so than in China.
Brands used to be built at the Point of Engagement and sold at the Point of Transaction, and the role of media was to shorten the distance between the two. But in today's connected world, these points are merging.
On the one hand, modern eCommerce platforms can be both brand building and transactional. In today's digital retail environment, where shelf-space isn't an issue, brands are using their in-store presence to build elaborate zones where consumers can engage and buy at the same time.
In the real world, on the other hand, more and more people are using smartphones when shopping – for product research, consumer reviews, price comparison, even finding a physical store – and brands welcome this opportunity to interact and engage with consumers.
In short, it becomes increasingly unclear where engagement ends and transaction begins. New ecosystems have emerged where content and commerce are converging, most prominently in China. Arguably, China's eCommerce market is the most advanced in the world and the two big players, Alibaba and Tencent, offer traditional brand environments as well eCommerce platforms in the most connected way ever.