Using the online shopping list in the supermarket, ordering clothes from the couch comfortably via tablet and picking them up in the store or ordering a food box including recipes for home on the Internet - more and more consumers prefer a combination of online and offline purchases. It's not important to customers which channels they use to get the products they want, they want a convenient, seamless 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 technological sphere.
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 just the operation of an online shop. It requires a comprehensive data-based marketing strategy and the appropriate, linked technology and channels (e-mail, social media, search engine marketing, apps, etc.) to provide consumers with relevant content at all digital touch points and to keep them engaged in the Buyers Journey.
Based on our agency experience, we have expanded Gartner's definition and summarized our understanding of digital commerce in an infographics. We see the four cornerstones of digital commerce as an integrated IT structure, personalized marketing, smooth processes across all areas of the company, and employees who are constantly expanding their expertise and sharing their knowledge across teams:
How Do You Master the Challenges of Digital Commerce?
In order to be successful in digital commerce, it is not enough to use as many sales channels as possible. You need to serve the channels relevant to your target group (buyer personas) with the right content, combining the online and offline experiences of customers with your brand to create an uninterrupted shopping experience.
We have summarized here what customers generally expect from retailers today and how you meet these requirements:
- Easily accessible information → Make content conveniently available wherever your customers search for it (in the shop optimized for desktop and mobile viewing, via search engines, on the social web or in the store).
- Consistent, up-to-date information from touchpoint to touchpoint → A centrally maintained, constantly updated database is crucial to ensure that no outdated information reaches the customer and no products are advertised that are currently out of stock.
- Individually relevant content → Track interactions across sessions and devices and always take the current status in the Customer Journey into account when addressing customers. For example, there is no point in bothering a customer with ads for products that he has already purchased or that do not fit his current needs.
- No interruptions during checkout → Make checkout as easy as possible, no matter what device your customer uses to make a purchase or whether they change platforms during checkout.
- Fast delivery/accessibility of products → Offer alternative delivery options such as pickup at the desired store or 24/7 accessible lockers close to the customer
Digital Commerce Demands New Structures in All Areas of Business
Unfortunately it is not enough to work through a short checklist. 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 corporate goals and the target group in a new or more detailed way. The permanent analysis of user data plays a central role in reacting quickly to current customer preferences. Close cooperation between the IT, marketing and sales departments is just as important as a constant expansion of know-how. After all, customers' preferences for information channels and sales channels can change quickly. Just like technologies or data protection guidelines.
Get Support From Digital Commerce Experts
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 development, to hosting and support - find out more about our comprehensive services for digital commerce: