E-Commerce and Digital Trends 2021 3/4

E-Commerce and Digital Trends 2021 3/4

A digital boost from Corona? To what extent could the digital industry benefit from the pandemic? And what are the trends for 2021?

Just in time for the new year, software providers Adobe and Akeneo, together with their implementation partner TechDivision, took a look into the crystal ball and identified some of the most exciting topics and developments, which we naturally don’t want to deprive you of.

Josef Willkommer, co-founder and CMO of TechDivision, has identified 11 upcoming trends. You can read about the first six of these trends here and here. The next three are presented below. You can already look forward to the last two!

Trend Number 7: Environmental friendliness and sustainability

In our view, the topic of environmental friendliness and sustainability will take on even greater relevance in 2021 and become a differentiating factor that is rightly becoming increasingly important for consumers.

For example, the Harvard Business Review reports that according to a recent survey, 65% of consumers say they want to buy products from brands that are committed to sustainability.

In this respect, there has never been a better time to launch a sustainable offering. Consumers – especially Millennials – increasingly say they prefer brands that embrace purpose and sustainability. In fact, a recent report showed that certain product categories with sustainability claims are experiencing twice the growth of their traditional counterparts. Yet, to date, a frustrating paradox remains: Although a large proportion of consumers consider environmental protection and sustainability to be important, few consumers have so far been willing to spend more on them. Of the 65% of consumers mentioned above for whom these issues are important, however, only 26% act in accordance with this attitude.

The issue of CO2 neutrality, which more and more companies are addressing, also fits into this “notch”. We expect this encouraging trend to increase significantly in the coming year, and more and more companies to recognize that the climate targets can only be achieved through joint efforts and a fundamental rethink.

To this end, various initiatives such as “Leaders for Climate Action” have now been launched, the aim of which is to raise awareness of the issue of CO2 offsetting and, in the next step, to provide assistance on how companies and private individuals can calculate their CO2 footprint and, ideally, offset it via appropriate climate programs. However, offsetting is only the second-best option. In the future, the goal must be to reduce CO2 emissions from the outset, for example by reducing business travel and switching to web meetings if possible or giving preference to rail travel. Another approach is the paperless office, and technologies such as Adobe Sign are making this increasingly easy to implement.

The Climate Action Program for Business11 is a simple tool designed to help businesses implement over 60 different actions across a range of sectors to reduce carbon emissions. These twelve sectors aim to green the office, minimize business travel, educate employees and customers about climate change, make digital products energy efficient, promote sustainable decision making in all business processes, and much more!

On the subject of CO2 neutrality, there are now also some very exemplary examples. The payment service provider (PSP) Computop, for example, has drawn up a carbon footprint and is now offsetting the CO2 emissions it produces, which means that the company can now classify itself as climate-neutral.

Nowadays, more than ever, consumers are looking for companies and brands that share their values. Environmental friendliness and sustainability are increasingly being counted among them. This is of increasing importance, especially for the younger generations.

Trend Number 8: Corporate Digital Responsibility

With the continued massive increase in data volumes on the one hand and corresponding analysis tools on the other – above all artificial intelligence – the topic of digital responsibility and digital ethics will continue to grow in the coming year. Here, in turn, the aforementioned topic of sustainability and ecology is also part of the equation.

Not so long ago, everyone was talking about corporate social responsibility, but now people are talking more and more about corporate digital responsibility. Particularly as a result of the EU General Data Protection Regulation, which has been in force in the EU since May 2018, people increasingly want to know where their data is stored and what exactly is done with it. In this respect, it will become increasingly important for companies in the future to answer precisely these questions as conclusively as possible, and even more so – not just to request data for the sake of collecting it, but to check at an early stage which data is actually needed for which purpose and which data can also be dispensed with here.

In order to establish a uniform understanding of corporate digital responsibility and to provide orientation and standardize the application of CDR, the BVDW created a framework for this in mid-2020 with the so-called CDR Building Bloxx.


The CDR Building Bloxx facilitate the access to CDR for beginners. Advanced users are supported in the successful further development of your CDR activities. A framework with uniform CDR standards leads to more efficiency and effectiveness in the evaluation of topics and processes. In addition, progress can be analyzed and documented more transparently.

The specific Building Bloxx show core topic areas and fields of action of digital corporate responsibility, where CDR activities are to be observed more intensively or are urgently necessary.

Abschließend ein ganz konkretes Beispiel: Das zuvor genannte klimaneutrale Onlinepayment ist demnach auch ein Thema der Corporate Digital Responsibility.


Trend Number 9: Agile Management and New Leadership

If there’s one thing 2020 has taught us, it’s that you never know what challenges you’re going to face next and how they will impact the business world. That’s why it’s absolutely critical for companies – regardless of industry or size – to be as flexible as possible and find ways to adapt to market changes as quickly as possible. While the concept of agility was already heavily strained – in some cases overused – before the Corona situation, the Corona pandemic has demonstrated quite impressively that it is only through agile approaches and appropriate management that one can survive in today’s world and, in the best case scenario, emerge stronger from the Corona crisis.

At TechDivision, we have been relying on agile management and new leadership since 2011, in which we try to “empower” our teams as much as possible and let team members make decisions largely at team level. Transparency and the most open communication possible are mandatory prerequisites for this. In the Corona situation, this management and leadership approach helped us a great deal to master what was initially a completely new situation in which the entire company was working remotely in a home office. And the topic of home office will also accompany us after Corona, as a first, internal survey produced a quite clear result, according to which around 80% of our team would like to see or imagine a hybrid approach with 1-2 days of home office per week in the future.

As a standard, we hold a monthly team meeting in which the entire staff participates and is informed about news and things worth knowing about our company. Employees from our locations in Munich, Leipzig and Hamburg have already been virtually connected here in the past. Since openness and transparency are important components of our corporate philosophy, it was important to us from the beginning of the pandemic that such a team meeting also take place regularly during home office hours. Due to the special circumstances, we even held it weekly from March onwards.

In addition, since the start of the home office period, we have been regularly surveying all employees on their current mood in a so-called “health check” so that we can initiate appropriate measures at an early stage if necessary. The questions cover satisfaction with communication and working in the home office, as well as stress levels and the extent to which employees feel supported by the company. In addition to the standard questions, this short survey also offers the opportunity for feedback, questions and suggestions. Until the end of May, this survey was conducted weekly and evaluated by our crisis team. In the meantime, the survey takes place every two weeks and serves us as a barometer of sentiment and for deriving any improvement measures.

Trust is the basis for modern management! Even in times before the Corona pandemic, we gave our team extensive freedom to make decisions regarding working hours and location, and we primarily evaluate the end result. We did not change this approach during the home office period and also took into account the additional workload of many colleagues, e.g. due to home schooling. Over time, it could be observed that productivity and output in the home office were often no worse than during office presence times and that even more work tends to be done in the home office.

Overall, there have been more positive effects than disadvantages so far, and our team has also been very positive about our handling of the Corona situation, as evidenced by a survey. In particular, the smooth switch to the home office in the spring was only possible thanks to agile management and modern leadership principles, where transparency and trust form the basis for day-to-day work.

The fact that an agile management approach is a proven means of controlling a company, regardless of size and industry, especially in times of Corona, is also demonstrated by various studies and white papers by well-known management consultancies such as Deloitte, which published a document on this subject entitled “Combating COVID-19 with an agile change management approach”.


Source of the text excerpt: https://www.techdivision.com/lp/e-commerce-und-digital-trends-2021