What is digital commerce in the era of CX?
Defining digital commerce today looks very different than it did even a few years ago – there are many more steps and considerations that must be factored into the definition, and you cannot properly explain it without all of them.
In its’ most simple definition, digital commerce provides the ability for consumers to buy services and products online, without having to speak to or contact anyone – it’s an entirely independent experience for the customer. And as we know, within a few clicks of the mouse, nearly anything you want can be delivered to your doorstep.
Modern commerce encompasses all of the touchpoints and processes throughout the entire consumer journey. This means that all of the tools, processes, and technologies used to create the online offer are critical to the overall definition.
Some of the facets of the modern definition of digital commerce include:
- Content development and product descriptions
- Research and development
- Marketing, promotions, and social media
- Customer service
- Customer experience
Of course, anyone selling their goods via e-commerce must remember that all content and processes must be optimized for all forms of digital engagement, including smartphones, desktops, tablets, etc.
Innovate or go home: To meet CX expectations, digital commerce requires constant revamping
In a recent report from Gartner, some interesting predictions for the world of digital commerce by 2023 emerged. Among them:
- 15% of large digital commerce companies will have rolled out their own marketplaces
- 80% of organizations that use AI as part of their digital commerce strategies will see 25% or higher improvement in key performance indicators such as customer satisfaction, revenue, or cost reduction
- Three digital commerce vendors will dominate the market by offering extensive application platform-as-a-service (aPaaS) innovations, extensive ecosystems, and rapid feature releases
This last point seems particularly relevant, both to nascent vendors and more venerable large players alike. The message? Innovate or go home.
All roads to e-commerce begin – and end – with CX
While the frameworks of all digital commerce platforms have many things in common, the key element that defines a leader is the ability to continuously offer new and ground-breaking features that will help clients consistently construct the process around the customer experience.
The landscape of commerce has shifted radically in the past couple of years, both in reaction to and as a result of game-changing new technologies being employed to automate previously manual processes, or to enable brand new abilities.
First, there’s the move to cloud-based, headless-first digital commerce platforms. This has enabled the front-end online storefront or in-app customer interface to be decoupled from the back-end commerce core, opening up a world of flexibility for a business’ partner ecosystem.
This can also be extended into physical stores in the form of “endless aisle” capabilities, where in-store stock can be offset with quick-turnaround warehouse inventory on-the-spot, minimizing lost sales from stock shortages.
Or, consider the effect of AI and machine learning on product visualization, storefront configuration, customer service chat functions, and more. AI can, for instance, drive personalization on a more granular level by allowing a single customer’s behaviors and intents to inform the actual content and layout of the digital store they interact with, in real time.
Make every moment matter
While nobody can predict the future of business and the wonders it will bring with complete accuracy, we can confidently lean into the trend towards fully connected cloud technology platforms as the primary means of getting there.
But, of course, technology isn’t all there is to success. In the race to the top in digital commerce, the winners will undoubtably be the ones that constantly look ahead, reimagine the possibilities, and keep their focus firmly on the true benefactors of their offerings: the end customer.