Digital retail enters “mid-platform time”

The development of digital retail is an ongoing process. In such a process, in each period, there will always be a specific digital retail model to meet the needs of the market. As we have seen in the past private domain traffic operations, as we have seen in the past live with goods, are so. Therefore, digital retail is not fixed, only those who truly grasp the development law of digital retail, and in different periods of different forms of players, to continue to move forward in the digital retail market.

If we summarize the development of current digital retail, the author believes that the current digital retail is transforming from a superficial existence to a deep involvement. The so-called “deep involvement” is more reflected in the fact that digital retail players no longer simply define themselves as an outsider, but are more deeply involved in the actual operation process of digital retail, in order to find more new development opportunities.

In particular, the launch of WOS system by Micro Alliance makes us see that digital retail players begin to lay more foundations and devote themselves to the specific process of the retail industry, so as to find and explore new practices of digital retail. As digital retail players begin to focus their development on this, it is reasonable to believe that the development of digital retail has moved from “platform time” to “mid-platform time”.

From bystanders to participants

From the perspective of the development of digital retail, we can clearly feel the relatively obvious traffic thinking and platform logic. At the end of the day, digital retail players define and define themselves as bystanders. Based on this, we can see that digital retail players are constantly acquiring and harvesting traffic in order to expand their territory and market.

It has to be said that such a development idea can indeed be a certain development space for digital retail players. However, it is also important to note that if players of digital retail are to continue to grow, they will need to continue to expand their market size and capture new traffic if they are to define themselves only as bystanders. In the end, this is no different from the traditional logic of e-commerce development.

Through the development of e-commerce, we can see very intuitively that this development model is not sustainable. When the flow dividend is no longer, when the ceiling of the market is peaked, the development model of defining itself as a bystander is bound to come to an end. To solve this problem, digital retail players must define themselves as participants and seek more new development opportunities by participating in the actual operation of digital retail.

How to get involved? The author thinks, on the basis of giving play to the advantages of the past, using the way to define oneself, is undoubtedly a good way and method. To be clear, players in digital retail are engaging in ways that are digital entry points. This is the key to their maximum function and role, this is the key to their ability to carry on the development of the Internet era legacy. In my opinion, participating in the process of digital retail in a digital way is the key to truly interpret digital retail and find new ways and methods of digital retail.

With digitalization, digital retail players can not only enable upstream merchants in an all-round and multi-angle depth, but also accurately perceive the changes in downstream consumers’ demands in the first time. Then, in the middle of the platform, the supply and demand will be an efficient docking. As a result, the function and role of digital retail have a new play and interpretation, and also break the previous development model dominated by traffic.

From enabler to entrant

Empowerment comes as digital retail players grow and grow. Of course, we can’t say that there is anything wrong with empowerment per se. What we need to see, however, is that simply defining the player of digital retail as an enabler still sees the player of digital retail as a separate entity from the retail industry. What is empowerment? In fact, the so-called enabling, is the digital retail players do not do, but tell merchants how to do, let merchants do the process.

It has to be said that the way of empowerment can indeed solve the pain points of businesses, especially for those who do not have the ability of technology research and development, with the help of empowerment, it can indeed save a lot of expenses. However, for digital retail players, if they want to achieve their own development by means of empowerment, they must constantly find merchants who need them to empower them, and constantly have merchants use their services.

In the final analysis, the so-called empowerment is necessarily the flow of the thinking, is still a horizontal development model dominated by scale. There is room for digital retail players to define themselves as enablers while merchant traffic still pays dividends. However, defining yourself as an enabler until the traffic dividend is gone, especially when businesses no longer need pure enablers to solve their pain points, or even when pure enablers alone can no longer provide incremental growth, is a dead end for digital retail players.

To solve this problem, digital retail players need to become horizontal enablers and find new avenues for vertical entrants. It is against this backdrop that we are seeing more and more digital retail players start to define themselves in terms of “mid-tier”. One is “platform” and the other is “middle platform”. Although there is only one word difference, there are many connotations and meanings behind this adjustment and change.

When digital retail players define themselves by their platforms, they only need to gather as much traffic as possible onto their platforms, they only need to continuously expand their market size, and they only need to let transactions continue to be reached under their own matchmaking and intermediary.

When digital retail players define themselves in the middle, traffic is no longer the main aspect they pay attention to, they pay more attention to the deep transformation of the established traffic (stock), through such transformation to find new development dividends, through such transformation to break the traditional development bottleneck. Through their own participation to find more new development possibilities.

In other words, digital retail players are no longer an aloof existence, and their value is not only reflected in the matchmaking and intermediary, no longer only reflected in the flow and market size, but more reflected in the depth and breadth of the retail industry intervention, and more reflected in the connection with the retail industry. Thus, the development of digital retail can truly enter a new stage of development.

From the Internet to new technology

In my opinion, another fundamental reason why digital retail has moved from “platform time” to “mid-platform time” is that the underlying technology of players has changed fundamentally. In the past, whether it is private sector operation or live streaming with goods, digital retail players will still find their breakthrough in Internet technology, that is, their solutions are basically derived from Internet technology.

When Internet technology can still bring development dividends to players, especially when Internet technology can really solve the pain points and problems of businesses, Internet technology as a starting point, can indeed obtain a certain room for growth. However, when Internet technology is no longer effective, especially when Internet technology can’t really solve the pain points and problems of businesses, digital retail players must jump out of the category of Internet technology, and stand in the perspective of new technology to find new solutions.

It is under such a general background that digital technology begins to replace Internet technology and become the killer mace and breakthrough of digital retail players. When digital technology replaces Internet technology and becomes the new tool of digital retail players, there is bound to be a deep change in the role and positioning of digital retail players, such a change is from “platform time” into “middle time”.

This is determined by the characteristics and connotation of digital technology itself. Unlike the Internet technology, which only improves the efficiency of the retail industry with the help of deintermediation, digital technology is more about improving the efficiency of the retail industry with the help of transforming the internal elements, processes and links.

How do you de-intermediate? One of the important aspects is to have enough users on the supply side and enough users on the demand side to achieve such a goal. As a result, what we see is that digital retail players are more focused on traffic acquisition, and the transformation of marketing methods.

Digital technology, on the other hand, needs to continuously transform the internal elements, processes and links of the retail industry, so as to improve the efficiency of the connection between supply and demand. To achieve such a goal, digital retail players need to be able to truly change the elements, processes and processes of the retail industry. So what we see is that digital retail players are deeply involved and fully embracing the retail industry. In order to achieve this goal, it is necessary to redefine itself by “middle stage”.


The development of digital retail is undergoing a transmutation. If such a transmutation is summarized, the transition from “platform time” to “middle platform time” is undoubtedly an important aspect. Recognizing the internal logic of such a shift, and finding ways and means to commit to such a shift, can lead to new directions for digital retail players. With this as the beginning, digital retail players can completely break away from the old development model and truly enter a new stage of development.


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