Covid has impacted businesses globally. According to Word Bank, one-fourth of the global companies saw a 50% fall in Sales.
That’s huge! Isn’t it?
The report also says that 34% of firms have increased the use of digital platforms, social media, and the internet.
Although this number is not great. But it clearly explains that business leaders are trying to find all possible ways to increase sales by adopting new technologies.
This practice is not new and we all have heard about eCommerce. Also, Digital Commerce may sound very similar to eCommerce (electronic commerce) to you.
I will say this is not correct and both are different from each other.
Ecommerce is a subset of Digital Commerce.
Yes! It’s more than eCommerce.
Okay so before I dig deep into Digital Commerce, let’s discuss “Ecommerce” first.
What is Ecommerce?
After the Dot Com boom, a new industry emerged “The internet-based business” such as Amazon, eBay, and Alibaba. Which challenged the traditional way of doing business in the World and Focused more on electronic transactions.
So, Ecommerce can be defined as the Selling of Goods and Services over the Internet.
Image Source – Investopedia.com
Over the period eCommerce has evolved.
With the use of new technologies, internet businesses have emerged such as marketplace, subscription-based sales, software as a service, platform as a service, and mobile app-only marketplace.
Also, these eCommerce-based businesses serve a huge customer base due to their reachability. It is a more transactional medium for doing business.
Ok, so now you understood what eCommerce is. Let’s jump to Digital Commerce and try to understand everything about it.
- What is Digital Commerce?
- What is the importance of Digital Commerce?
- What is the difference between Digital Commerce and eCommerce?
- What is the scope of Digital Commerce?
What is Digital Commerce?
Digital commerce is an omnichannel customer-centric approach to unifying the Digital and Physical ways of doing commerce.
It empowers customers with a personalized and intuitive digital buying experience.
Customer experience is the key to Digital Commerce.
So, it involves people, processes, and technologies throughout the buyer’s journey to help with eCommerce Strategy, Digital Marketing, Content, and Customer Service.
That’s the definition!
To explain more let me give you one example:
United Wheels, the parent company of Huffy Bikes and the other 5 major brands, came up with a Growth Strategy.
A strategy to go digital and acquire new customers using DTC and B2B.
They were looking to adopt a strategy where for some of their brands they can sell direct to customers (DTC) and for some other brands they can use the online (B2B) approach.
In short, they already had a large network of retailers and dealers through which they were selling some brands and they still want to keep doing that. The brand is called “Batch Bicycles”
But to improve the customer’s experience with the brand they created a hybrid sales strategy using which customers can buy online or offline/in-store from the local dealers.
Brands like Huffy Bikes were DTC brands that were selling directly to customers and delivering the product to customers’ doorstep.
To achieve this strategy, they had to use an eCommerce platform that works on a single instance and also allows integrations to external enterprise software such as ERP and CRM.
They selected Magento (Adobe Commerce Solution) for this.
Magento’s multisite capability with the flexibility of platform customization and integration they were able to achieve the Growth they desired.
What is the importance of Digital Commerce?
Global business leaders are adopting Digital Commerce Rapidly.
The covid impact has forced businesses to rethink their growth strategy to generate revenue.
Digital Commerce played important role in that:5>
1. Digital Presence and Global Reach
Digital Commerce is a great way to acquire new customers and generate sales online.
Whether you plan to go for DTC, B2B, or B2C approach, it opens all the options for you.
Also, with an online presence, you can reach global buyers, create sales strategies to acquire new
customers, offer new products, and launch new campaigns easily.
Digital Presence is not just a channel now, it’s a new way of doing business.
2. Advertisement and Promotion:
Small Businesses to Global Brands all have access to advertising platforms to promote their products and services.
Now, with Digital Presence you can utilize paid promotion to drive sales and offer/launch new products and services.
You can gather sufficient data to improve your customer’s experience. You can use the data to improve your product and services.
You can create contents to drive buying decisions for customers.
Customers tend to utilize product comparisons, how-to guides, and product reviews to make decisions.
Creating content and mapping it with the customer’s buying journey is a great approach to driving sales and awareness.
3. The Omni channel eCommerce approach
Omni Channel experiences help build trust among customers and maintain customer loyalty.
They can purchase the goods and services using their preferred channel such as in-store, Amazon, eBay, Facebook, or Directly from the Website.
Wherever they go or try to purchase from they get the same buying experience. Such as product pricing, stock and offers are the same across the channel and synced accordingly
4. Improved Customer Service:
Since the customer will be utilizing the self-service approach to buy products and services, customer service cannot be ignored.
It should be kept aligned with the customer’s buying experience. The aligned customer services and data will help in providing better services to the customer.
You have to keep in mind the fact that “If you take care of your customers, the customer will be loyal to the Brand”.
What is the scope of Digital Commerce?
Digital Commerce is not just a fancy term for online business. It has emerged as the digital transformation strategy for organizations.
There is huge scope in Digital Commerce and it has already started to show results for some of the big market players.
I have given an example above of United Wheels and explained how digital commerce was part of their growth strategy.
Strategy is the core of Digital Commerce and it is directly related to each other. Just launching an eCommerce store and listing products to sell is not going to bring any importance to the investment made.
The scope of Digital commerce is not limited to just unifying the online and physical way of doing business and utilizing the promotional channels available.
Few Important Scope of Digital commerce:
Experience Management Capability
Who are your ideal customers, what are they looking for as value when they search for products or Services, and how to understand their buying behavior?
All these questions are well answered with the use of experience management capabilities
You need to know everything about them. New tools and software powered by AI and Machine learning can help you know your customer better.
When you know your customer well then you can offer them a better experience.
Digital Commerce is a customer-centric approach, so personalization plays a major role in the sales and service of products.
Personalization can help in increasing brand loyalty, recurring, up sales, and cross sales to the same or new customers.
Omnichannel is the core strategy of Digital Commerce.
That means you need to have a centralized inventory of products with real-time integrations. Product information management (PIM) tools and software can also help you in large catalog management and properly sync with an inventory.
Inventory is one of the major expenses for retail and other types of B2C businesses.
Centralized inventory and its proper integration with eCommerce stores and physical stores can help in optimization and save lots of money.
Product Interaction capability
Buyers’ behaviors have changed over a while.
Covid has created a mentality of ease of purchase in the mind of customers.
That means there is an opportunity to allow users to buy products and do trials from the comfort of their homes.
Emerging technologies such as AR/VR can help in creating a virtual reality using which customers can have an in-store shopping-like experience from home.
Online meeting tools such as MS Teams and Zoom can also be integrated with the selling process, especially in B2B Commerce.
Scalability of business
Technology and software platforms have opened many doors for businesses to take chance and scale.
Today’s unicorns are not those who have money to produce inventory on large scale and produce cost-effective products.
They are those who can utilize technologies and add value to the business.
Multisite eCommerce capabilities, Headless Commerce, Digital Marketing, and Payment processing tools are some of the features incorporating which you can scale to a new state, country, or Geo-specific region to scale and grow your business.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
1. What is the future of eCommerce?
The future of eCommerce is bright!
Yes, you will be seeing more businesses coming online to the DTC space. Also, B2B will be adopting a more customer-centric approach.
Advertising costs will increase due to the rise in competition. The cost to acquire a customer will be high so a more strategic approach will be needed to retain and build brand loyalty among customers.
I must say competition is good, it brings the opportunity to present unique differentiation to the customer.
2. What is the digital commerce platform?
Simply digital commerce platforms can be described as enterprise eCommerce platforms.
Platforms that have all the eCommerce features to run, operate, market, and integrate third-party tools.
Here are the must-have features of the ideal digital commerce platform:
- Large product catalog handling capability
- Integrations and extensions capabilities
- The community of developers/experts
- Performance and optimization
- Business operations and management capabilities
- Core commerce capabilities for faster launch
3. What are digital business and e-commerce?
Ecommerce is the simple buying and selling of goods and services online. It is more transactional.
Examples are – Amazon, eBay, and Walmart.
Digital business on other hand is about, how to adopt technology to not only sell but also deliver goods and services.
The best example will be – Netflix, PayPal, etc.
Digital Commerce is very simple and easy to understand.
Most of the organization’s heads, VPS, CMO, CTO, and CEO miss understood Digital Commerce with eCommerce.
This resulted in no digital transformation and no digitalization of business.
Now, with this ultimate guide, you will be able to understand, what Digital Commerce is. and how adapting it can create growth.
The Covid impact is huge and Digital Commerce can be a rescue for businesses.
Let me know if you have any upcoming growth strategies. Also, if you want to go Digital to acquire more customers.