80% of customers stop doing business with a company that delivers poor customer experience.

We are in the midst of a digital commerce revolution. Delivering a customer-friendly and seamless eCommerce experience is no longer a differentiator — it’s a necessity to survive for forward-thinking entrepreneurs.

Digital Commerce, today, is not just a buy button towards the end of an online sales funnel, it’s an end-to-end experience that is anticipatory and pervasive, aiming towards meeting the customers’ expectations for a more fluid and memorable buying journey.

9 seconds: It’s an average time that a potential customer gives any brand before abandoning the site, thereby assuming more control over their buying journey.

Empowering customers with the experiences they desire means new possibilities. However, with new opportunities, the volume of ecommerce challenges also increases and it is requires acumen to strike a balance. The lack of buy-in from the C-suite is a major barrier to customer-centricity.

What is Digital Commerce?

What is Digital Commerce?

Just a decade ago, brands relied upon limited solutions for their commerce needs. There was ‘Internet’ but the ‘Internet of Things’ was a term no one knew, there was ‘Intelligence’ but ‘Artificial Intelligence’ hadn’t been born, there was ‘data’ but ‘data-driven insights’ was still a Hollywood fantasy. In-store purchases dominated the sale compared to online sales.

In what felt like an instant, the entire landscape changed.

Technology evolved. The Internet exploded. Data started to drive innovative organizations to create amazing customer experiences, thus shifting the paradigm from eCommerce to digital commerce.

Digital commerce, thus, is a highly interconnected process — involving the process, people, and technology — that enables consumers to buy goods and services via an interactive, self-service, and seamless experience at all touchpoints throughout their buying journey.

Featuring products on an online platform and spending money to market them is not enough to attract ever-evolving customers. Leading businesses understand that in today’s digital era, strategies that worked in the past no longer work and thus, they have started to embrace digital commerce as a more holistic way of doing business online.


6 Ds: The Digital Commerce Strategy

To keep pace with tomorrow’s customers and naturally progress towards digital business, organizations need to build a robust digital commerce strategy.

By building a strategy and aligning resources, tools, and capabilities, an informed organization can deliver revenue growth through digital channels with an agile path to purchase. However, not many organizations have embraced digital commerce services, thus failing to meet the customers’ expectations.

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57.7% of businesses invested in Digital Commerce technology in 2019, however, most of the organizations often treat digital commerce as a one-time project and leave the application architecture out of sync with business requirements.

To succeed in today’s Darwinian era, it is important to build and continuously refine the digital commerce strategy to kickstart the virtuous cycle of attracting potential visitors and turning them into your customers.


1. Develop Cross-Functional Collaborations

Have you ever imagined what could happen if every unit in your organization — IT, Sales, Marketing, and Development — is working in a silo? You’ll surely be in a huge mess. Thus, while working upon a digital commerce strategy, it is critical to forming a cross-functional team consisting of business and technical stakeholders, embracing the concept of DevOps.

A DevOps Culture can improve cooperation and collaboration by almost 55% and reduce handling time by 60%.

2. Define Business Requirements

Launching digital commerce without defining the business requirements is a waste of time and effort that can leave even the big brands in the dust. Thus, define the goals of your digital commerce, which mostly are: Improving customer experience, Increasing digital revenue, Minimizing customer churn, Reaching new markets, and Retaining the repeat customers. Based on these goals, define the essential KPIs.

37% of projects that fail do so because of poor requirements management.

3. Design an Omnichannel Experience

Most organizations deploy the latest technologies to their digital commerce without studying the entire customer journey, thus treating customer experience in a piecemeal manner.

Just deploying the latest technology won’t boost customer experience: a customer, while shopping online, goes through multiple steps — research, evaluation, check-out, and order returns, thus, it is imperative for an organization to design for a unified and seamless experience throughout the customer journey, across all the channels.

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Get closer than ever to your customers. So close that you tell them what they need well before they realize it themselves.

Steve Jobs img

Steve Jobs

4. Determine the Technical Architecture

Once the customer experience is defined based upon the touchpoints, organizations should be able to choose an ideal digital commerce platform — CMS, DXP, DAM, or CRM — for their business that will be integrated with front-end customer touchpoints, back-end applications, and external services for the purpose of delivering optimum customer experience.

47% of respondents in the Sitecore survey ranked CRM, analytics, and BI as most important to their company’s customer experience strategy.

5. Drive a Solution

Once the application and integration environment gets defined, the next step is to build the solution by working on the primary functionalities for digital commerce, which mostly involve customer care, digital store management, localization, merchandise management, reporting, and analytics.

Without comprehensive, accessible customer data, it’s impossible to deliver on the DX promises of personalization, predictive analytics, and machine learning.

6. Deploy Continuously

The first vital step is to go live with the selected digital commerce platform. However, to continuously improve revenue and meet customers’ expectations, speed and innovation are the two factors that separate the winners from losers.

And to achieve that businesses need to constantly and seamlessly optimize the digital product to enable the continuous release of digital product improvements. This happens by embracing the concept of agile development along with DevSecOps.

The deployment frequency of high performers is approximately 4% higher than low performers.

Digital Commerce Challenges

Although the worldwide spending on digital commerce platform technology is projected to reach $8.544B by 2020, riding the digital commerce wave is not an easy task.

It is a challenge for business leaders to strengthen their digital commerce strategy in today’s experience era, where you are surrounded by brands like Amazon, eBay, and Alibaba that leave no stone unturned to deliver a seamless experience to their customers.

A practicable eBook to help you optimize Digital Retail Customer Experience.

A practicable eBook to help you optimize Digital Retail Customer Experience.

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1. Capitalization of Data

Traditional data pipelines are breaking, and data quality is suffering. Just 22% of enterprise companies are currently seeing a significant return from data science expenditures.

Thus, to handle this data challenge, it is important for organizations to find new ways to turn this untapped data into useful insights to drive customer retention, and one such approach is DataOps.

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The framework of tools and culture that allow data engineering organizations to deliver rapid, comprehensive and curated data to their users … [it] is the intersection of data engineering, data integration, data quality, and data security.

Andy Palmer img

Andy Palmer

2. Customers’ Exploding Expectations

We are in the midst of an experience era, where big brands like Amazon are taking the online buying process to the proverbial ‘next level’ through its Anticipatory Shipping method. Thus, competing with them and fulfilling the ever-evolving customers’ demands is a huge challenge for retailers today.

The major issue with digital commerce players today is that they are investing a huge chunk of money in the problem. However, the winners will find their way to satisfy their customers’ high expectations smartly while keeping costs in check.

75% of consumers expect shipping to be free, even on online orders under $50, up from 68% a year earlier. And 39% expect two-day shipping to be offered at no charge.

3. Being Consistent

Analyzing and understanding customer’s interactions across all touchpoints and using it to build a consistent and seamless customer experience across all these touchpoints is a major challenge for retailers.

Many brands still have gaps in their cross-touchpoint experience that need to be plugged. For instance, picture the inconsistency to keep a customer engaged throughout their buying journey by not saving their recent searches and additions to shopping carts across devices and channels, even when a customer is logged on.

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Getting an audience is hard. Sustaining an audience is hard. It demands a consistency of thought, of purpose and of action over a long period of time.

Bruce Springsteen img

Bruce Springsteen

4. Personalization Approach

Today, retailers have become obsessed with their customers and they try to cross all the limits just to provide over-personalized experience to them. However, the bitter truth is that customers are becoming increasingly frustrated with targeted online ads.

To overcome this challenge, it is important for businesses to understand that they personalize their customers’ experience while maintaining privacy and respect.

91% of consumers agree that online ads are more intrusive today than they were a few years ago.

5. Agility Challenge

Agile Transformation is at the heart of Digital and scaling is important for any successful digital commerce. Even a study reveals that 68% of companies identified agility as one of their most important initiatives of digital commerce.

The parameters that play an indispensable role in laying the foundation for scaling agile capabilities and approach at the enterprise level are Agile teams, flexible architecture, and efficient release management.

96% of agile transformation projects fail because of their inability to rapidly adapt to market changes in a productive and cost-efficient manner.

Technology is evolving. And it is changing customers’ expectations of the shopping experience, which in turn, impacts marketing and digital commerce. In order to meet customer expectations for a more relevant, streamlined, and convenient buying journey, it is critical for stakeholders to focus on digital commerce trends in terms of customer experience, business models and emerging technologies.

Gartner survey reveals that CMOs place digital commerce in the top three strategically vital capabilities, allocating 9.2% of their marketing budget to digital commerce, up from 8.1% in 2017.

1. Visual Commerce

Visual commerce allows your potential customers to interact with your products in a visual and more immersive manner. For instance, there is a feature in Snapchat that allows users to click a photo of an object or persons’ outfit to buy the same on Amazon.

With digital commerce getting more visual, it is becoming vital for businesses to analyze and understand customers’ behavior throughout the funnel and use that insight to build visual content, thereby influencing your customers’ purchase behavior.

According to Deloitte, “90% of companies with annual revenues of $100 million to $1 billion are leveraging AR/VR technology.

2. Personalization

Personalization involves delivering relevant, targeted, and individualized interaction to optimize the customers’ experience. Any customer would consider a brand that gives importance to their preferences and tastes.

By personalizing users’ experience, you are offering something useful based on the users’ characteristics, behaviors, attributes and/or data analysis.

An Accenture study mentions that 33% of customers who abandon business relationships do so because personalization is lacking

3. Omnichannel Commerce

73% of customers shop across multiple channels and a good omnichannel experience connects customers across multiple devices and locations, thereby bridging the gap between online and offline channels.

An omnichannel solution gives users the freedom to choose a variety of touchpoints. No matter what point of purchase they choose, a successful omnichannel strategy eliminates silos to maintain a continuous and seamless experience that, in turn, helps optimize the customer journey.

Companies with extremely strong omnichannel customer engagement retain on average 89% of their customers, compared to 33% for companies with weak omnichannel customer engagement.

4. Unified Commerce

Today, customers make use of multiple channels throughout their buying journey. Thus, it is important to serve them with a seamless experience across these touchpoints.

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Building a seamless customer journey across all the digital experience touchpoints requires the specific suite of elements that work in conjunction with each other. A unified digital experience platform is enterprise software that ties together these elements to deliver a seamless user experience.

By the end of 2020, 81% of retailers will deploy unified commerce platforms, to support commerce across the enterprise’s stores, mobile users and the web.

5. Cart Abandonment Rate

Analyzing customers’ journeys with a range of analytics tools is vital for enterprises to increase their market growth.

Analyzing the data paves the way for enterprises to understand what went right and what requires more attention. The absence of analytics for customer experience is like keeping your fingers crossed and hoping that your actions make a positive impact. And Hope is never a strategy.

Organizations that make use of digital customer experience analytics across all business decisions, witness 131% sales improvement over the companies that don’t.

The ROI of Digital Commerce

Although it may sound overwhelming that visitors are landing on online stores from all directions, however, at the same time the digital commerce landscape is becoming extremely chaotic, thereby making it hard to measure the ROI of digital commerce.

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An investment is deemed an investment only through its returns on investment

Lamine Pearlheart img

Lamine Pearlheart

There are various tools available to measure, analyze, benchmark, and improve your digital experience across multiple channels by helping you track the following metrics:

1. Conversion Rate

The conversion rate is the ratio between the number of visitors, visiting your digital property and those that turn into customers.

2. Churn Rate

A business’s churn rate is the percentage of customers who would not like to make a repeat purchase with your brand.

3. Return Customer Rate

The Return Customer Rate is defined as the ratio of customers that have made more than one purchase to the total number of customers.

4. Net Promoter Score

Today, customers make use of multiple channels throughout their buying journey. Thus, it is important to serve them with a seamless experience across these touchpoints.


5. Customer Analytics

Analyzing customers’ journeys with a range of analytics tools is vital for enterprises to increase their market growth.

Analyzing the data paves the way for enterprises to understand what went right and what requires more attention. The absence of customer experience analytics is like keeping your fingers crossed and hoping that your actions make a positive impact. And Hope is never a strategy.


Parting Words

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, it’s not just the technology that leads to success. In the race to the top in digital commerce, the winners will undoubtedly 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.

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