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Carroll School of Management

Future Commerce

Denise M. Morrison '75

President and CEO, Campbell Soup Company

Excerpt from remarks to Boston College Chief Executives Club  

April 12, 2017

TAKEAWAY: Future Commerce  

I'll start with future commerce. As it's been widely discussed, e-commerce is already transforming many industries, including entertainment and apparel. Future commerce will be flexible and fully automated, providing consumers with a convenient, instant, and omnipresent experience. Many of us in this room have e-commerce business or have purchased goods online. However, emerging digital technologies, including artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual reality, and new notions of currency and means of transaction are clearly changing how we acquire food online via mobile devices and in traditional brick-and-mortar retail contexts. This will fundamentally alter how consumers interact with and experience brands.

Consumers will insist that future commerce be frictionless. Consumer needs will need to be met anytime, anywhere, and everyday grocery staples will automatically be refilled based on consumption habits, purchase data, calendar apps. Through the Internet of Things, connected kitchens will alert consumers if they're running low on broth and when their salad dressing needs to be replenished. At Campbell, of course, we believe the key to those is to make sure it’s Bolthouse salad dressing and Swanson broth. That’s my only commercial.

But essentially this constitutes a new architecture—an always-on shopping environment that provides consumers with an instant gratification that's free of inconvenience and delays. Shopping for and preparing meals will be flexible, fully automated, and even anticipatory.