For the past ten years, people have been talking about the end of retail. Increasing troves of people began going to the web to fill their shopping wants. Retailers responded by launching websites and beginning to sell their goods or services both online and in-person. It was effective back then. Now? Launching an e-commerce website and calling it your digital commerce strategy is insufficient.
E-commerce is not digital commerce.
I’ll start by pointing out that this is a crucial distinction to make. Selling products online is known as e-commerce. A strategy known as “digital commerce” enables consumers to purchase goods and services online by giving them a fun, interactive experience.
According to Gartner, it is as follows:
Customers can buy goods and services through digital commerce in an interactive, self-service environment. In order to accomplish the provision of development content, analytics, promotion, pricing, customer acquisition and retention, and customer experience at all touchpoints during the customer buying journey, it comprises the people, procedures, and technologies.
The main distinction between digital commerce and e-commerce is that the latter also centres on the experience you may provide for your clients. It’s about giving your target audience the perfect, end-to-end customer experience, one they will value.
In general, those might be:
- rapid loading of pages
- high-caliber, pertinent visuals
- attractive website design
- a uniform user experience across several devices (e.g. on mobile, tablet, desktop, browser)
- Consistent user experience across social media platforms (e.g. if your brand is active on social media, the tone, messaging and overall experience should be consistent across all of them)
- To match the website and social media channels, use consistent email marketing messaging.
- Content for your website (such as blog posts, eBooks, videos, etc.) that adds value for customers and makes it appear as though your company is truly interested in assisting its audience rather than merely trying to make a sale
Do you detect a pattern? Customers of today demand seamless consistency. They don’t want to feel as though they’ve switched to another company if they visit your website and then go to your Instagram account. Your website should continue your Instagram account.
The same rule holds true if it’s the other way around. or if you send out marketing emails to your clients. What if they need to contact someone, like a member of your customer service staff? Yes, the same idea still holds true. Everything must go without a hitch.
And this is only the start. Many customers base their demands on convenience. They don’t want to have to work hard to locate what they require. As a result, a lot of companies are making technology investments to enable them to provide increasingly customized client experiences.
- Personalized product and service recommendations based on each customer’s prior dealings with your business (e.g. past searches, purchase history, customer service cases)
- customized search results (based on the above)
- Geographical targeting
- Recommendations for goods or services based on the behaviour of customers with similar profiles
Find more e-commerce personalization examples here.
The goal of digital commerce is to improve the buying and selling experience.
The idea of e-commerce websites assisted firms in providing customers with a better buying and selling experience. However, with digital commerce, you may build one that is much better.
Customers, as was already established, want convenience. They require solutions to their problems and answers to queries. And just now, they are needed!
Making it simple for clients to find what they need is a sign of a superior shopping experience. These features can assist clients in finding the information they need quickly, immersing themselves in an exceptional experience, and remembering your brand in the future. Quick page loading speeds, personalised product recommendations, and straightforward search functionality.
This has a connection to an amazing selling experience. Your clients are less likely to need to contact your sales or customer care staff for assistance if they can locate what they’re looking for quickly. This gives these teams more time to concentrate on the clients who genuinely require their help (e.g. sales quotes, project proposals etc).
Online shopping technology
Additionally, it assists your sales team in closing leads, which is useful if you work in the B2B sector. I previously talked about how website content can enhance the optimal user experience. Before deciding to purchase your goods or services, your clients might want to do some research on you or your business. This is your moment to showcase your knowledge if you have content that can meet this need.
You may establish yourself as a thought leader by producing high-quality content that solves the problems your customers are experiencing. What’s even better is that your material was produced in such a way that users of search engines will naturally find it! So that they may take their time to decide, your customers won’t feel like they’re “being marketed to.”
You need to be subtle about it; your material shouldn’t overshadow the goods or services you’re trying to market. Additionally, that information must provide a quick access point to the good or service (i.e. add it to basket).
The top digital commerce experiences need to be updated frequently.
It will become more and more important for you to step up your digital commerce game as technology develops and client expectations rise. You must therefore be ready to continually seek out new opportunities to improve your digital commerce experience. The optimal initial step is to adopt the technology that best suits the needs of your company.
Think AI to continuously improve product visualization (e.g. tailored product recommendations or even automatically personalizing the layout of your entire website to match a returning customer’s wants). Or you could use chatbots to respond to frequently asked questions from consumers to help you separate the ones who do require your sales team’s assistance from those who self-serve can.