“Buying and selling things online” goes by many names nowadays. Digital commerce, ecommerce, ebusiness, and more. Is there a difference? And what is digital commerce in its current form? Discover an expert overview of all things digital commerce in today’s post.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- What is Digital Commerce?
- Digital Commerce vs. Ecommerce
- Why is Digital Commerce Important?
- The Four Benefits of Digital Commerce
- Seven Top Trends in Digital Commerce
- Five Tips to Improve Your Digital Commerce
What is Digital Commerce?
Digital commerce refers to buying and selling things online. Digital commerce can occur anywhere you’ve got a WiFi connection, from your smartphone, TV, fridge, or iPad, to all the different connections online like social media, Livestream shopping, and more. Are you looking to build an improved strategy? In that case, the following guide will help walk you through its importance, noteworthy trends in this space, and tips for improving your overall strategy.
Far more than simply an online storefront where products reside and checkouts occur, digital commerce spans across channels. It involves everything from traditional ecommerce to personalized content. To succeed in digital commerce today, aim for an integrated approach to the customer journey and a unified buying experience.
Focusing on this type of commerce is integral to increasing sales, acquiring new customers, and retaining existing ones for businesses looking to remain competitive in the years ahead.
Digital Commerce vs. Ecommerce
It’s a matter of phrasing because for most people, ecommerce and digital commerce mean the same thing. For posterity’s sake, let’s look at the different definitions floating around online.
Digital commerce is the newer term, but it only came around because the scope of ecommerce broadened over time. You could potentially say that the range of digital commerce is broader.
Some understand ecommerce to mean the website you visit to buy products or services. They see “digital commerce” as a digital transaction.
Still, others define digital commerce as a fully automated successor to ecommerce.
Perhaps by renaming ecommerce as digital commerce, we understand that the commerce website stretched to include many channels.
Why is Digital Commerce Important?
Within the B2B, B2C, and D2C arenas, consumers interact with brands and retailers in new ways. Digital commerce now encompasses the entire customer journey, a new world where consumers and brands interact across a blend of physical and digital spaces.
The Four Benefits of Digital Commerce
The benefits may seem obvious, but digital commerce can provide more than just a boost in sales.
Easily Expand Internationally
Digital commerce makes it more manageable and cross-effective to reach consumers worldwide.
If you plan to expand internationally, you must prepare for the logistics of global sales. While many consumers shop from international brands, they expect fast shipping at little to no additional cost.
Manage Multiple Brands
Manage multiple brands simultaneously with digital commerce. With the right ecommerce solution, you can easily reuse assets, manage product information in one centralized location, and deliver memorable experiences to the right audience based on targeted data.
Offer a Better Customer Experience with Customer Data
Nearly half of buyers would pay more for a better digital shopping experience. Additionally, this same group of customers would not buy from the same business again if their experience was poor.
That’s why it’s essential to gain an in-depth understanding of the experience your customers expect. Focus on the entire customer journey, pinpoint the speedbumps, and utilize customer data to improve the overall experience.
Digital commerce can provide invaluable customer data when used with the right tools. You can provide a more personalized experience across all channels by harnessing customer data. Customer data allows brands to acquire new customers, build loyalty with existing customers, and improve overall sales.
Meet Your Customers
A digital commerce strategy empowers you to meet your customers anywhere.
This could be a timely text message promoting a new product to a customer while they ride the train for their morning commute. It could bring helpful guides to a new mom, including pointing out must-have items from your online store.
Regardless of what you are selling, this strategy allows you to interact with your customers on a new level. You are invited into your customers’ homes and daily lives, allowing you to reach them with highly targeted, ongoing experiences.
Seven Top Trends in Digital Commerce
Trends in digital commerce move at lightning speed. Expect the following key trends to make waves in the coming year.
Omnichannel Ecommerce and Content
Buzzwords come and go, but for us, omnichannel still means a seamless transition from one channel to the next. Creating and delivering the right message at the right time and place improves brand awareness and supports a consistent customer experience across channels.
Whether your customers interact with you via an app, a social media messenger, or in person, the experience should be the same.
This also allows you to deeply understand your customers via cross-channel analytics.
By 2023, 58% of retail sales will be influenced by digital. Having a digital-first approach to your strategy is a business essential.
Digital-first means incorporating every interaction your customer might have with your brand into your digital strategy.
For example, suppose a customer visits your brick-and-mortar location to look at a product. In that case, you might retarget them later with an SMS message offering a promotion to complete their purchase online. Linking all channels into one strategic approach will influence your brand’s future success.
Additionally, this means unifying all teams across your company to work towards a digital-first approach. From sales to marketing to warehouse management, the focus should be on digital channels.
Customer Data is the Key to a Personalized Experience
If your brand is not using customer data, now is the time to begin. Customers expect a personalized experience when interacting with brands. Understanding your customer will involve a deep dive into analytics on consumer behavior.
While digital commerce allows brands to learn more than ever before about their customers, this is only as useful as your business’s ability to analyze and adapt.
Use your customer data to build personalization into the heart of your customer experience and cascade it across every interaction. Use targeted offers, personalized headlines, or an organized record of shopping history to keep your customers coming back for more.
If you feel like your ecommerce platform isn’t growing along with your business or worse, impeding growth, it might be time for a change.
Headless ecommerce refers to the concept where the frontend presentation layer, or the “head” of the website, is separated from the backend or the “body.” A lightweight application programming interface (API) facilitates communication between the systems.
Headless ecommerce provides the ability to deliver updates and customizations to the frontend without affecting the backend. Easily reach your customers with consistent, relevant, and timely content experiences across all touchpoints.
Related Reading: Headless and Composable–The Next Step in Digital Commerce
Composable Architecture takes the headless concept a step further with an ecommerce system fully made of “composable” building blocks that work together as one unit.
Composable Architecture allows you to choose and tailor the best-of-breed tools and functionality to fit your business needs. The lightweight, flexible concept fully supports the constantly evolving needs of a modern ecommerce business.
Related Reading: Is Composable Architecture Right for You?
Artificial Intelligence (AI) uses advanced analysis, logic-based methods, and machine learning to support and automate choices, define events, and perform actions.
Use AI in your ecommerce solution in areas ranging from product recommendations and customizing the user journey to site search optimization.
Related Reading: AI in Ecommerce–It’s Everywhere
An online marketplace provides customers with the convenience of a one-stop shop and the chance to take advantage of the best prices.
Adding an ecommerce marketplace as one of your sales channels brings many advantages, such as a relevant audience, visibility online, and a chance to reach worldwide markets with relatively low overhead costs.
Five Tips to Improve Your Digital Commerce
Almost every business today partakes in digital commerce in some form or another. However, many businesses are in danger of being left behind in this space.
If your ecommerce strategy involves setting up an ecommerce website and calling it a day—it’s time to adapt.
Improving your approach involves a few key strategies.
Focus on Mobile
Data shows that 50% of website traffic now comes from mobile devices. A digital commerce strategy must focus on improving the mobile experience. From investing in a mobile app to improving the mobile version of your website, be sure to pay attention to the mobile experience with your brand.
Related Related: Omnichannel Strategy and Investments in Mobile Commerce
Provide Multiple, Flexible Payment Options
Consumers want to be able to pay in a myriad of ways. This includes everything from connecting popular payment options to your ecommerce store to offering monthly financing options. Digital commerce should consist of a strategy around expanding your payment options.
More payment options make it easier for consumers to choose to purchase your products over a competitor.
Adopt a Marketing and Sales Strategy Backed by Best Practices
Jake Sorofman, Vice President of Research at Gartner, stated: “There was a time when marketing and selling were two distinct disciplines. In many cases, digital merges these two into a single, continuous activity from initial awareness, through engagement, conversion, transaction and repeat purchase.”
Your strategy must be backed by best practices that combine marketing and selling into an optimized experience. It is no longer enough to serve up an ad to a customer and hope they convert to a purchase. Instead, it’s becoming an interactive experience.
With the rise of conversational commerce, shoppable content, and AI-powered personalization, your business must continually adapt to new best practices in both the digital and physical realm.
Measure Your Efforts
Don’t just measure sales—track your overall efforts through meaningful KPI’s. Define KPI’s that tell you relevant information about your shoppers, such as the number of visits before a purchase, the types of channels they use or products they buy, and time spent on the site.
Take a deep dive into your content. What content supports your KPI’s? By working through customer personas and customer data you have around your content, you begin to understand the type of content that really resonates with your customers.
Look at customer behavior around content like:
- Did they click on the “Read More” under product details?
- Did they often click on the recommended products?
- Did they visit the Shipping and Returns page?
This data provides a deeper insight into how your content is performing. Armed with this knowledge, you try different types of content, work with A/B testing, and CTAs (call-to-action) to see what helps your KPI’s.
When it Comes to a Partner—Choose Wisely
At Vaimo, we specialize in helping businesses improve their digital commerce strategy. Whether you are hoping to add new channels or optimize existing customer experiences, our team can help you use the power of data, analytics, and testing to create an improved strategy.
We can help you implement the right technological solutions to ensure your business can continue to scale over time. The right ecommerce solution will make managing multiple channels, product information, and content more efficient. Reach out today to learn more about optimizing your ecommerce strategy.