Empowering Commerce

More than Just Intelligence

By Preetham Shetty
Published on December 8, 2020

A Brief History of Technology Innovation in eCommerce Space



Empowered commerce is about empowering businesses to win in the digital age. There is a paradigm shift in the way businesses have evolved. Digital-first retailers will have to adopt people-centered approaches to infuse AI driven experiences on every customer touchpoint.


PARADOX OF CHOICE – Why Less is More?

Have you heard about the famous Jam Experiment? In 2000, psychologists Sheena Iyengar and Mark Lepper from Columbia and Stanford University presented a study based on their field experiment. On a regular day, consumers shopping at an upscale grocery store at a local food market were presented with a tasting booth that displayed 24 varieties of Jam. On some other day, the same booth displayed only six varieties of Jam. The experiment was being conducted to adjudge which booth would garner more sales and it was assumed that more varieties of jam would fetch more people to the counter thereby getting more business. However, a strange phenomenon was observed. Whereas the counter with 24 jams generated more interest, their conversion to sales was pretty low (about 10 times lower) as compared to the counter that had six varieties of jam.


What just happened?

Well, it appears that a lot of choices seem appealing but this choice overload may sometimes prove to be confusing and hampering for the customers.

So even if the online stores have access to millions of items, without a good recommendation system in place, these choices can do more harm than good.

Ingest data from various online/offline channels to generate effective recommendations.Render the experience anytime, anywhere, at any channel. Deliver killer personalization on any channel using omnichannel personalization.


An empowered business model powered by a ubiquitous distributed computing fabric will evolve based on the needs of modern retailing. Scaling and interconnecting this ubiquitous distributed computing fabric will have to support and cut across geographic boundaries supported by a serverless, event driven backplane. This ecosystem must power all the use cases that businesses need to compete in this digital world.


Empowered Experiences: Hyper-Relevant Experiences

Consumers now demand unique experiences. That means showing them the most relevant content, products, and offers. Recommendations encourage visitors to explore more of your catalog.

Regardless of the channel(s) customers choose, capturing detailed behavioral and transactional information creates a key competitive advantage. Retailers armed with this information can create personalized online interactions. Given the complexity of the landscape, we need to modernize many systems within the organization.

Consumers expect hyper-relevant experience. Create data synergy, bring together all your data sources in real-time to create contextual, relevant 1:1 personalization. Organizations should measure performance, engagement, and KPIs aligned with business objectives.



So is Intelligent Empowerment the same as AI? As we see it, the two are related but are not synonymous. AI is often focused on using computer power to take on tasks that could be done by a person — doing it faster or at a lower cost. It can be replacing humans with machines.

"Deliver customer value through intelligent digital experiences"

Intelligent Empowerment helps people become more efficient, precise, or make better decisions — where intelligent tools augment human capability. Intelligent Empowerment aims to reduce, even eliminate, the mundane work humans do today and unleash their creativity and imagination for more fulfilling work.

How can Intelligent Empowerment work for you?

The availability of massive amounts of computing power on demand allied to advances in machine learning algorithms and the existence of massive amounts of digital data with which to train these algorithms; opens the possibilities for Intelligent Empowerment within the enterprise.


Empowered Edge – Next Evolution in Data Processing

Empowered edge is a term in IT that is used to talk about empowering computing centralization that is distributed toward the edge of a network, toward the end-user, and the end-user device. It is a key concept in device management in the cloud and big data age. Empowered edge is also known as device democracy.

Future intelligent experiences will depend on a mesh of distributed edge devices that will contain intelligent functions that will stream data just in time to deliver relevant information and insight to any device at any time.

Empowered Transformation – Differentiate with Digital

Digital Transformations seem big and scary. But with the right partner, they yield massive operational improvements. At the height of a Digital Transformation, your business is squeezing maximum value out of existing digital tools.

Technology is one of the core pillars of digital transformation. But Digital transformation is not just about technology; it is about reimagining your company. It is the necessary but challenging journey of operating digital-first with the speed and nimbleness to change or introduce new products and experiences rapidly, exploit technology to create lean operations, and free people to do more complex tasks that create value.

We are in the early days of a technology revolution. Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Robotic Process Automation, Data-Mesh, Cloud, Edge Computing, Serverless, IoT devices, and others are part of a dizzying array of new technologies. They remake operations, allow you to individualize at scale, and create powerful business platforms. You must rapidly experiment and operationalize to stay apace with consumer demand and competitive pressures.

As more companies embrace digital transformation, more data will be collected, analyzed, and processed in real-time. The need for real-time processing is driving the growth of Edge Computing. Using Edge, companies can analyze data near where it is collected, rather than sending all the data to the Cloud and back. With proper planning, less data travels the network, resulting in fewer bottlenecks and freeing up the infrastructure to bring more computing power to the end of the web it is creating.

Higher Value Transformations

What if you moved past the “ obvious” solutions of using AI for higher-value things? What does that look like?

Using AI for real-time analytics, intelligent search & smart recommendations.



Most companies today are using at least some form of Artificial Intelligence. While the extraordinary complexity of streamlining a company’ s data ecosystem is a tall order, the ability to get started with AI has opened a world of possibilities.

Personalization is all about curating experiences around the individual. As a retailer, it's not just about shipping products, it's about building relevant relationships with each person no matter the channel.

Your customers already tell you what they like.

Derive insights from browsing behaviour and push products to people who have an affinity to the gender, category, or brand you need to sell.

Understand and act on their unique tastes.

  • Product affinities empower you to produce relevant experiences for customers that prefer a certain color or have an affinity to a particular product.

Delivering a truly tailored, personalized experience to customers, at scale, and across any channel, was once an impossible dream. But now, new marketing technology allows you to understand exactly where customers are on their digital decision journey and offer them useful, relevant content just when they’ re most receptive to it.


Digital Optimization Initiatives

Whether you are personalizing marketing efforts or using AI to streamline or other repetitive corporate functions, most companies are finding at least some easy spots to incorporate AI into their company’ s workflows to digitally optimize their functions.

Keystone to Digital Transformation

“ Check yourself before you wreck yourself”

The keystone to digital transformation is data. Data is essential to identify opportunities for optimization, especially in industries like retail, eCommerce, or financial services. But creating and collecting data is not enough. Data is powerful only when it is actionable. Digital innovators get more value from their data than companies focused on digital optimization.

As more companies embrace digital transformation, more data will be collected, analyzed, and processed in real-time.


“ Digital Optimization is not Digital Transformation”

What is the biggest motivator for your digital transformation? YOUR COMPANY OR YOUR CUSTOMER?

If your answer is COMPANY

If you’ re pursuing new tech adoption for your company’ s benefit— to save time or improve processes, you’ re merely digitally optimizing your business, rather than transforming it.

There’ s nothing wrong with digitally optimizing your business, After all, modernization is essential to function in the world today with things like AI, Analytics & Cloud.

But, digital optimization is like grabbing the lowest-hanging fruit on the technological tree. It keeps you even with your competition, but it will never advance you past them.

It also means that you’ re focusing more on your company than your customer, and that will never cut it in today’ s competitive marketplace.

If your answer is CUSTOMER

Technology should be one of the core pillars of digital transformation.

To succeed in the marketplace today, you need solutions that bring you closer to your customer and allow you to serve them better, faster, and stronger. That’ s what digital transformation is about.

“ Digital Transformation should bring you closer to your customer”


“ Gartner reports that 81% of marketers expect to be competing almost completely on the basis of customer experience, meaning the delivery of excellent customer experiences is critical to business growth.”

The practice of providing flexibility, continuity, and consistency across digital and physical channels to deliver a superior customer experience is the key to customer success. This consistency includes multiple phases of the customer’ s buying journey. These phases include customer searching, browsing , transacting, acquiring, and consuming a product or service.

This simply means that regardless of the journey the customer has taken, or touchpoints they’ ve made to make a purchase, their customer experience should remain the same: FRICTION-LESS. Becoming an Empowered Intelligence-driven company is all about data.

The fundamental shift to digital business requires 50% of software in the next five years to be built with a new model.

Companies that lead Digital Transformation won the race. For example Amazon, Google, Facebook. On the other end, companies who did not buy into Marketplace did not survive the competition. Most of the market leader in the Gartner’ s Quadrant have their origins from the dot com era. They were primarily built for a single channel world. Since then the retail world has been continuously evolving to an omnichannel world, and now to a convergence of channels into a unified experience-driven model.

Our assessment concludes that more than 50% of IT & Digital leaders would agree their current eCommerce platforms will not be fit for purpose in 12 months.

What is your strategy?
To not just compete but disrupt the digital retail space?
Reach out to our digital commerce specialist at RETISIO if you need help in devising your digital strategies.

About the Author


Preetham Shetty

Strategist on all things Digital. A technologist who covers many areas like Digital Strategy, Product Development, Business Enablement - Preetham brings 15+ years of leadership experience in building complex digital commerce solutions for large enterprise retailers like Sam’ s Club, Walmart, Verizon, Kohl’ s, MetroPCS and Maritz.

Preetham’ s forte is in Bridging gaps in strategy, domain & technology, and setting up a framework for new products and innovation, which has enabled him to provide Product leadership at RETISIO Inc.

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