There are multiple ways to answer this question. The easiest explanation would be – digital commerce is the selling and buying of products and/or services online. The transaction may take place online or offline.
It is important to note that most businesses operating in different industries have an online presence and provides information on their product and/or services on the website, social media, and other mediums.
Hence, it becomes important to modify the traditional definition of digital commerce to match the current scenario.
Consider the following two different examples:
- Example 1 – Businesses that sell their products or services online and are able to accept payments online.
- Example 2 – Businesses that advertise their products or services online purely for informational purposes and accept payments offline.
Importance of Digital Commerce
We can notice extreme changes in the expectation of the customer as and when the impact of digitization continues in B2C and B2B.
From the way customers do the research of any service or a product, consider and complete the purchase or even show loyalty to the brand, in the way they communicate all this with their peers.
While digital commerce is the need of the time, it is equally important for business owners and their customers.
The Importance of Consistency
It is essential for retailers to maintain excellent customer experience throughout all touchpoints. It is also important to remember the interactions of the customer over touchpoints such as social media websites, phone calls with customer care representatives, live chat support on websites, and others.
Consider something as important as the willingness of an online buyer to save the products in the shopping cart. The “save shopping cart” feature adds value for each potential buyer through all touchpoints.
Many eCommerce websites do have gaps that exist in their experience with touchpoints. For example, many users on shopping websites don’t add products in the shopping cart.
Among many reasons, few can be that the user wants to perform additional research before making a purchase order and he/she may leave the shopping app and go to the web browser, the user may receive a phone call while making the purchase or get distracted from the push notification of another app, and more.
Why else wouldn’t a customer want to see products he has put in a cart on the mobile device, turn up while the customers sign in with their smartphone or a tablet?
The Importance of Adapting the B2C Practices
Generally, B2B has indeed been lagging behind several creative B2C organizations. So it’s wise for Business – to – business enterprises to take a gander at the knowledge gained by leaders throughout the B2C space.
It will definitely play a major role to improve the attitude of B2B organizations if such B 2C practices are adopted.
What is Driving the Need for Digital Commerce?
1) Creating Best Customer Experience
Research by Qualtrics reveals that over 65 % of consumers believe the overall experience is influenced by a company’s app or website. The digital experience was described as “very critical” in recommending a brand by these people.
People use digital as well, for example by way of customer service, to gain support from the companies with which they operate. Another thing about which to think is the all-round achievement-something that most consumers demand from today’s brand.
This has been a theme for traders and retailers who wish to raise their order with minimal effort in recent years. This is a key solution. Different distribution channels with inventory and locations of fulfillment are centralized through this process.
2) Coping Up With the Evolving Competition
You should seriously consider starting if you are not already planning out the customer journey. Your rivals will probably already have this in their equation for digital business.
After all, you can begin to understand exactly what makes a customer wish to recommend your brand experience to a friend, family member, college, neighbor, and so on when you focus on moments of consumer interaction that support brand loyalty.
Further Classification of Digital Commerce
Active Digital Commerce
Businesses that are actively selling products and/or services as well as accepting payments online can be termed as a part of active digital commerce.
Passive Digital Commerce
Businesses that are marketing their products and/or services online but are accepting the payments offline can be a part of passive digital commerce.
Digital Commerce – Overview
The basic use of digital commerce involves four different user types:
- User – A user is a website visitor who has not registered. He may browse the product catalogue, view prices, and more.
- Buyer – The buyer can place orders, browse the product catalogue, and more.
- Seller – The seller can upload products, modify product details, reply queries shared by the buyers, and more.
- Admin – In the case of a single store, the seller and website admin is the same. The admin manages the entire website and is also responsible for marketing. To do so, he may create discount coupons, start an email campaign, and more.
For a seller to find buyers online, the first requirement is to establish an online presence. Few things are required to achieve that, such as a digital commerce platform.
Followed by the implementation of marketing practices that involve omnichannel marketing techniques and the use of analytics to turn data into useful information. The final step involves omnichannel customer service.
Digital Commerce Software
Digital commerce software is an essential part of capability within the eCommerce ecosystem. A business owner has two options – select a digital commerce platform from a vendor or design and develop the software from scratch.
Platform Developed by a Vendor
There are many industry leaders such as IBM, Oracle, Magento, Salesforce, SAP, Digital River, and more, that provide a digital commerce platform.
There are professional services and software companies such as Accenture and Apttus, respectively, that offer solutions.
For startups and small medium businesses (SMBs), the ideal ecommerce platform providers can be Shopify, CS Cart, Yo!Kart, and others.
The two main elements of a digital commerce platform are:
Platforms come with built-in features. These features help you perform different functions such as execute a new email marketing campaign, provide analytical insights, and more. Native features generally includes:
- Content management system (product descriptions, and more)
- User management
- Login / signup
- Revenue sources – advertisement, subscription, affiliate, and others
- Discount coupon management and social media
- Customer experience
- And more.
There might be a case when the need to modify the platform arises to suit the business requirements.
Custom Software Development
Consumer expectations often change as more advanced technologies are developed. The use of technologies is essential to design and deliver the new eCommerce experiences possible within the ecosystem. Hence, the need for custom development arises.
Marketing and Customer Service
The essence of an omnichannel eCommerce marketing strategy is to deliver a consistent and targeted message across different channels. As a purchase journey often starts with a single search, it is important to know what relevant problems prospects are facing.
Omnichannel customer service creates an impactful outcome and bridges the gap between digital and physical. It increases cross-selling and up-selling opportunities by leveraging tools and techniques to understand the context at a deeper level.
Upcoming Trends in Digital Commerce
A smart home uses the internet of things (IoT) to connect different devices together. For example – a consumer can order groceries using a smart assistant like Alexa while looking inside the refrigerator.
Due to Covid-19, many people are practicing social distancing. This also gives rise to the use of augmented reality (AR) to browse products while the consumer is inside the store.
Customer analytics can enable eCommerce businesses to monitor different aspects of the customer lifecycle. By applying customer analytics in digital commerce, one can gain insights into repeat customer rate, purchase frequency, and more. To succeed in eCommerce, it is also suggested to use the AARRR framework.
This framework was coined by an entrepreneur, Dave McClure. To learn more about the framework, feel free to view the video at this point.
Progressive Web Application
It’s intended for working on all the platforms which use compliant browsers. Some of the most popular progressive web applications include Microsoft 365, Google Apps, and others.
Content and Commerce
Content commerce is a process of generating revenue from digital content provided the content is in the picture, video, book, newsletter, video format. Creating fresh content is a good idea but generating money for the created content is the best.
Artificial Intelligence is a field of study that is demonstrated by machines and is often known as machine intelligence. The digital commerce industry is used by online retailers.
AI can be leveraged to provide various personalized services to customers. Additionally, AI-enabled chatbot services can be used to analyze the comments shared by customers.
Challenges Faced in Digital Commerce
The rapidly evolving world of technology and customer behavior may be a challenge when incorporating those digital business practices into your everyday business.
It can be challenging for your clients to spend enough time tracking several points of contact during their customer journey, from occasions when they are irritated.
Prepare yourself to expect the following digital commerce challenges:
1) To Deliver Consistent Experience to Customers
The expectations of customers change constantly. The use of advanced algorithms as well as customer analytics tools enables one to optimize the digital business strategy. They also ensure consistency in all aspects of the shopping experience. It includes delivery choice, search choices, and items.
Furthermore, the retailers must take a strategic approach for the surveillance of customer data to identify well functioning areas. The more consumer behavior is learned, the more you can customize every experience.
2) Meet Expectations Through Latest Technologies
Meeting customer demands can be a difficult job in the digital era with so many of the digital marketing trends. Devices are continually upgraded, so you will need to regularly update your campaign’s goals.
Recall that consumers prefer to use several digital channels when looking for the right brand before a product is purchased.
You can offer seamless buying experiences by staying abreast of digital business trends. Those trends include visual lookups, video marketing, personalization, conversational marketing, and artificial intelligence.
3) Generate Relevant Traffic
The days of dealers who come to their eCommerce site are over, depending on the single source of traffic. In order to transmit targeted traffic to their web shopping shops, successful digital businesses hop into SEO, PPC, email, social, display ads, retargeting, smartphones, shopping motors, and affiliates.
Build Instagram Galleries, secure partnerships with influential individuals, host awards for social media gifts, optimize Google product photos.
These are just some ways for your e-commerce company to generate traffic through digital channels. Investing in a technological solution that incorporates every aspect of digital commerce is the best way to address this challenge.
4) Business Expansion with Technology
Firm foundations for the technical capabilities of retailers who wish to continue and expand consistently with digital trade should be created. There are many things to consider, among them analytics, cart solutions, email applications, CRM systems, and inventory administration apps.
Keep your company from failing by investing in the right technical avenues. For instance, incorporate a website chat feature in your digital business and ask your customers for feedback.
Digital commerce is an important differentiator for retailers. The transition from offline to online involves creating a strategy and selection of tools. In this blog post, introductory information on digital commerce platform and marketing was shared to enable businesses to make an informed decision.