E-commerce strategy

Or anno 2016: Digital Commerce Strategy

All indicators point to the fact that e-commerce has a bright future ahead and that the growth seen in recent years will continue. Many people have plenty of enthusiasm and great expectations but that is precisely where the pitfalls lie. You are sorely mistaken if you think you can just sit back. All the recent developments mean that producers and retailers no longer determine the rules of the game, the customers do. This makes it vital and necessary to keep your finger on the pulse and constantly innovate.

Digital commerce as new priority

International studies indicate that digital commerce will be the next priority for many marketeers. That is hardly surprising. Digital marketing has become mainstream for the majority of marketeers. They choose the channel they expect to produce the best results and barely distinguish between online and offline. This evolution has not yet been widely accepted for commerce: we see many B2C and B2B companies wrestling with new challenges. 

At the same time, we see that digital commerce is becoming a domain where responsibilities are increasingly placed at the door of the marketeers. Companies expect marketeers not just to build on a brand but to increasingly participate in boosting turnover and margins. Marketing and sales are no longer two separate disciplines. Digital commerce means both must be combined effortlessly in a continual process. A process that was previously described by McKinsey and which is known as 'The consumer decision journey'. 

E-commerce versus digital commerce

E-commerce and digital commerce are often mentioned in one breath, but they have different meanings nonetheless. Initially, the web was used as a tool to lead consumers to the more traditional sales channels. In a later phase, businesses implemented webshops to generate online sales, a practice that still continues today. Even today, companies cling on to the notion of channels all too often. In our experience, it is exactly that mindset that limits growth.

A digital commerce strategy requires more than having a webshop. Consumers expect coherent and convincing digital commerce experiences that connects channels and devices. Digital commerce is a process that starts off long before any actual purchase is made and continues long after said purchase. Targetting, engagement, retention and, if possible, repeated sales are the focal points of this process.

Digital commerce strategy

A clear strategy is required to achieve sustainable results. Some of the questions you should be asking yourself are: 

  • Is it even a good idea to start with digital commerce? 
  • What do your customers' journeys look like and how can you use this cleverly?
  • What are the functional requirements? 
  • Can you improve the customer experience through digital commerce? 
  • What does your technological landscape look like, and how can you make sure its architecture is scalable and manageable? 
  • Is the chosen technology ready to employ current e-commerce tactics (couponing, ...)?
  • Where and how will product and pricing information be managed?
  • On what basis will you decide on logistics?
  • What about online payments and security? 
  • Is mobile a channel that deserves more attention? 
  • What constitutes a user-friendly and effective sales process? 
  • How can you use personalisation and predictive analytics effectively? 
  • How will digital commerce impact the organisation?
  • What about customer service and returns?
  • Is there a channel conflict? With distributors or off-line retail?  

And most importantly: how will you ensure digital commerce will have a positive and sustained impact on revenue and margin?

Retail & omni-channel

Today's consumers impose ever increasing expectations on online retailers:

  • Flawless user experience, through and across the different channels and devices;
  • Personalised approach;
  • Comprehensive product range (preferrably larger than in the physical stores);
  • Catalogues that are easy in use;
  • Permanent availability of products and rapid delivery to any location;
  • Fast and easy payment;
  • ...

One of the larger challenges for online retailers today is that consumers expect to be treated as individuals: their tastes and preferences should be reflected in your service and product offering.

Personalisation is no longer a differentiator but simply a requirement

Personalisation is essential to online retail; the static shelf is a relic of the past. This requires your business to have a 360° view of the customer. This implies a data-driven mindset and a heavy dependence on technology. 

Do you want to know more? Contact our consultants.

B2B digital commerce

Many assume B2C digital commerce is more advanced than its B2B counterpart. From a customer's perspective, the demands are the same. Your B2B's customer expectations are molded by all types of digital interactions, and B2B business need to address this. To put it bluntly, why should a purchaser at your client accept an online experience that is below the experience he gets from an online retailer?

30% of all professional purchasers are prepared to pay a premium for an improved customer experience

Moreover, millennials are rising up in the corporate ranks, and they consider usability, collaboration and personalisation as the Olympic minimum for doing business. B2B organisations need to take action now.

We will help you improve your digital commerce and achieve better business results.

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