Olivier Schott, co-founder and chief product officer of Scalefast, details what will be essential to recovery in 2021: accelerated globalization to drive eCommerce, expansion of free trade for accessible supply chains, and more guidance for companies navigating international taxation and regulatory compliance. Read his insights in “A Look Forward: What Executives Wish for America and the World in 2021.”
Like many others, we at Scalefast are hoping for a swift recovery from the events of 2020 — both in terms of world health and the global economy. With help on the horizon, there is a feeling of hope in the air — yet we know that the effects of this pandemic will continue to play out over the next 12 to 24 months as vaccines are deployed, treatments are developed and the economy begins to come back to life. At Scalefast, we are hopeful that 2021 will bring more of the following: accelerated globalization, the expansion of free trade, and increased tax and regulatory guidance for retailers as they begin to navigate international eCommerce markets.
Accelerated Globalization to Drive eCommerce
Growth One of the biggest shifts in recent years has been the exponential growth of international data flows and cross-border bandwidth. With the rise of eCommerce and the expansion of mobile and digital technology adoption across the globe, consumers are liberated from traditional marketplace restrictions and are shopping across borders. Brands are selling to the most diverse global coalition of customers ever, as shifts in demographics and spending power continue to accelerate. We hope businesses and retailers will continue looking across the globe for sales while building international D2C channels that are resilient and digital-first.
Expansion of Free Trade for Accessible Supply Chains and Transparent, Sustainable Sourcing
The expansion of free trade will be critical in the global economic recovery. To jump-start growth, we hope policy makers around the world will consider new trade deals, updated agreements and renewed partnerships to take quick action toward economic stabilization. The pandemic forced many companies to reconsider and rework their supply chains to cope with global disruptions. We hope that companies double down on their commitment to expanding and crisis-proofing their supply chains with “China Plus One” and other strategies for sourcing and manufacturing. The pandemic, along with other climate disasters we experienced in 2020, is a symptom of a planet pushed to the brink ecologically. We hope that 2021 sees more brands and retailers implementing practices that support sustainability, human rights, labor laws, environmental justice and other ethical business practices.
Increased Guidance for Companies Navigating International Taxation and Regulatory Compliance
Consumers are steadily shifting to eCommerce channels. From groceries and prescriptions to Christmas trees and cars, online shopping is replacing in-person experiences for even the most traditional of product categories. Mobile, instant, contactless and peer-to-peer payments are increasing exponentially, along with an explosion of buy now, pay later (BNPL) FinTech startups and mobile wallet functionality. Cyber fraud will continue to be a challenge as rates of global poverty increase and more consumers shop online, and we anticipate the downward trend in credit card use to continue. As more companies navigate this new and fractured payment marketplace online, we hope retailers and businesses devote considerable time and resources to navigating and understanding international payment, taxation and regulatory compliance landscape.