On Tuesday, September 22 Axios' Erica Pandey hosted an event on how cities are building stronger, more efficient operations to support an increasingly digital economy, featuring Dunkin' Brands CFO Kate Jaspon and FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel.

Kate Jaspon discussed trends in Dunkin' Brands' customer digital transactions and how they're promoting their brand across younger social media platforms like TikTok.

  • How coronavirus has accelerated the move towards a contactless food experience: "We're seeing a lot of guests shift away from cash and actually move to these contactless payments."
  • On the company’s successful partnership with TikTok star Charli D’Amelio: "We've seen a significant number of app downloads and perk memberships come from her demographic and her following, as well as an increase in our cold brew sales since we launched."

Jessica Rosenworcel unpacked the future of smart cities, how new technology can be better integrated into public spaces, and the need for the federal government to better collaborate with city mayors.

  • On cities being able to predict things like fires, safety hazards: "Wouldn’t it be fantastic if we knew those kinds of things well in advance, if we had a predictive ability that exceeds what we have today because we are looking at patterns at a scale that previously we haven’t been able to do? I think that those things are real and they are not so in the far-off future."
  • On partnerships between the federal and local governments: "We've got to figure out how to be partners with mayors and town councils...I think right now they see federal authorities as someone who wants to take their power away and prevent them from having a say and where communications infrastructure goes on their streets in their backyards."

Axios co-founder and CEO Jim VandeHei hosted a View from the Top segment with Visa Chief Product Officer Jack Forestell who discussed changes in digital commerce and what this means for the economy.

  • On digital shopping experiences being the new norm for small businesses: "What we have seen with the pandemic is a sharp uptick in digital commerce...But what we're seeing now is that the new set of digital commerce behaviors is really sticking. The implication is that small businesses, Main Street businesses, really need to get digital."

Thank you Visa for sponsoring this event.

Go deeper

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
Oct 14, 2020 - Economy & Business

China's digital currency aims to leave the rest of the world in the dust

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

China is already test-driving the future of finance while the rest of the world is stuck trying to get its learner's permit.

What's happening: Over the past two weeks Chinese authorities in cities like Shenzhen and Chengdu have given out the country's brand new digital renminbi currency and are urging even faster rollout of the token nationwide.

First things first: The digital safety net for SMBs post-COVID

Jake Ward, President of the Connected Commerce Council (3C), during Google's virtual Small Business Matters Roundatable.

85% of SMBs say COVID-19 made them rethink their approach to digital tools.

Why it’s important: SMBs that are using digital tools, technology services and have access to online marketplaces are more likely to have survived the early days of COVID-19 and become resilient because of it, said Jake Ward, President of the Connected Commerce Council (3C).

2. Only 45% of SMBs felt digitally prepared for COVID-19

Jake Ward, President of the Connected Commerce Council (3C) and Mistique Cano, Director of Policy & Public Affairs at Google.

The pandemic created a greater urgency to adopt digital tools, but small businesses are still faced with 2 key barriers – information and cost.

What this means: SMBs need to reinvent themselves to adapt, but they’re often left behind because they’re “historically under-capitalized,” said Jake Ward, President of the Connected Commerce Council (3C).