Digital commerce replaces e-commerce
Consulting the online shopping list at the supermarket, ordering clothes from the comfort of your couch via tablet and picking them up in the store, or ordering a grocery box including recipes to take home on the Internet - more and more consumers prefer a combination of online and offline purchases. What matters to customers is not which channels they use to get to the products they want, but that they are offered a convenient, frictionless shopping experience.
The strict separation between offline and e-commerce no longer exists. Instead, we are now talking about digital commerce. Because no matter where products or services are traded - nothing takes place outside the technologized sphere anymore.
What is digital commerce?
The Gartner IT Glossary defines Digital Commerce as follows:
"Digital commerce is the buying and selling of goods and services using the Internet, mobile networks and commerce infrastructure. It includes the marketing activities that support these transactions, including people, processes and technologies to execute the offering of development content, analytics, promotion, pricing, customer acquisition and retention, and customer experience at all touchpoints throughout the customer buying journey."
Digital commerce thus encompasses much more than operating an online store. It requires a comprehensive data-driven marketing strategy as well as the appropriate, linked technology and channels (email, social media, search engine marketing, apps, etc.) to provide consumers with relevant content at all digital touchpoints and to continue them in the buyer's journey.
Based on our agency experience, we have expanded Gartner's definition and summarized our understanding of Digital Commerce in an infographic. We see the four cornerstones of digital commerce as an end-to-end IT structure, personalized marketing, smooth processes across all business units, and employees who are constantly expanding their expertise and sharing their knowledge across teams:
How do you master the challenges of digital commerce?
To be successful in digital commerce, it is not enough to use as many sales channels as possible. You need to serve the channels that are relevant to your target group (buyer personas) with the appropriate content, and in doing so, connect customers' online and offline experiences with your brand to create an uninterrupted shopping experience.
We have summarized here what customers generally expect from retailers today and how you can meet these requirements:
- Easily accessible information → Make content conveniently available wherever your customers are looking for it (in-store optimized for desktop and mobile views, via search engines, on the social web, or in-store).
- Consistent, up-to-date information from touchpoint to touchpoint → A centrally maintained, constantly updated database is crucial to ensure that outdated information does not reach customers and that products are not promoted that are currently out of stock.
- Individually relevant content → Track interactions across sessions/devices and always consider the current status in the customer journey when targeting customers. For example, there is no point in bothering a customer with ads for products they have already purchased or that do not fit their current needs.
- No interruptions during checkout → Make checkout as easy as possible, no matter what device your customer is shopping on or if they switch platforms during checkout.
- Fast delivery/accessibility of products → Offer alternative delivery options, such as pickup at the desired store or at 24/7 accessible lockers near the customer.
Digital commerce demands new structures in all areas of the company
Unfortunately, working through a short checklist is not enough. If you want to offer customers a seamless shopping experience, you have to rethink and create new structures in many areas of the company. It may be necessary to redefine company goals and the target group, or to do so in greater detail. The permanent analysis of user data plays a central role in order to react quickly to current customer preferences. Close cooperation between the IT, marketing and sales departments is just as important as the constant expansion of expertise. After all, customers' preferences for information channels and sales channels can change quickly. So can technologies or data protection guidelines.
Get support from the digital commerce expert
As a digital commerce agency, Blackbit supports you in successfully entering this new type of commerce. From strategic consulting and initial project management to the realization of a digital commerce foundation and its continuous further development to hosting and support - find out more about our comprehensive digital commerce services here: