What is digital commerce?
Digital commerce is not just one thing. It is the enabling of customers to purchase goods and services through a wholly self-service, interactive experience. It covers all aspects of this from the people, technologies, and processes involved in offering these experiences to the content and retention based touchpoints.
What is the difference between digital commerce and eCommerce?
Digital commerce is not eCommerce, however, in a somewhat confusing manner, it is a form of eCommerce. Ecommerce is the selling of goods and services through an online platform such as a website. Digital commerce, however, is a purely online experience, with the goods and services sold being purely digital in nature. While eCommerce covers the online selling and purchasing of goods such as clothes, digital commerce covers purely digital, non-physical, goods such as downloadable software and digital art. Again, eCommerce includes the likes of digital commerce, digital commerce in itself, is a specific aspect
Why is digital commerce important?
Digital commerce is a key part of an omni-channel experience that a brand or eCommerce company offers. As we further experience the digitisation of both B2B and B2C commerce, the behaviours and expectations of customers are ever-changing. These changing behaviours are even further exasperated by the covid-19 pandemic. How we talk to, sell to, and encourage loyalty from these consumers is ever-evolving and becoming an ever increasingly digital experience.
Digital commerce is becoming more than a sales channel. It has become the heart of a brand offering, and a source of truth for consumers. The same study as quoted above reported that 65% of consumers research a product online before attending a physical store, as such, if you can offer a source of truth through accurate descriptions, key reviews, and an overall sense of expertise these consumers can be intercepted and the beginning of a loyal, retained customer can occur.
What are some examples of digital commerce?
As mentioned before, digital commerce is the aspect of eCommerce that occurs purely through digital channels such as the internet, social media channels, mobiles, etc. Some key aspects of digital commerce include:
Marketing activities that support transactions, and consumer retention.
Promotions through analytical methods.
The user experience of each and every touchpoint throughout their purchasing journey; and the acquisition and retention aspect of these experiences.
Advantages of digital commerce?
There are a plethora of advantages that come from having a digital commerce platform. While being able to reach customers further afield than could be done from a brick and mortar store is a key advantage, there are some more that we’d like to further highlight.
Opening and running a physical store can be expensive. Between rent, salaries, furniture, and various pieces of equipment it can have a high overhead cost. Whereas opening a business online has a lower overhead cost. While the initial development and design of a platform can have some costs, it overall tends to be less than having a physical store. And instead of paying rent, you pay a hosting cost that often is a very small, yearly fee.
Compared to a physical store, online offers far greater flexibility, with the ability to redesign and adjust the user experience at a far faster pace. Unlike physical stores, the stock offerings can be changed easily, as can photos, videos, and marketing materials. Digital also offers flexibility for you, as you can manage it from far greater locations, even while on your phone between meetings.
We’ll discuss this a little more soon, however, a big advantage of digital platforms is that you can track user data, and analyse it to help inform updates and improvements to better the experience of your users and improve your sites conversion and retention rates.
What is the scope of digital commerce?
I have mentioned that digital commerce has a wide, firmly digital-based scope that entails all touchpoints along with the user experience. But to give a bit more of an understanding, let's dive into 3 key aspects of this.
Personalisation is the process of creating relevant, individualised interactive experiences that are optimised for a specific user. In order to offer these experiences, personalisation needs to be built into the core of your digital experience in order for it to be able to permeate and fully impact every point of interaction between your platform/offering and your user. All of these interaction points, be it search, recommendations, landing pages, etc. need to be designed in a cohesive manner in order to build a full picture for each of your users.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the application of advanced analysis and logic-based techniques to interpret events, automate decisions, and ultimately to take action. You may have heard of it, sometimes referred to as machine learning. Its importance for digital commerce is ever-growing and can be seen in an ever-increasing array of features from search optimisation, to personalisation, to product recommendations. It is growing so much that spending on AI within eCommerce is expected to reach over €7 billion within the next year.
This is the process of analysing customer data to determine the features and technologies required to provide customers with an experience that meets their expectations. Most sites already track and record visitors' data. Hence why there are now regulations such as GDPR within the EU that we must abide by. We can, however, continue to adhere to these regulations while capturing meaningful data. The key here is to actually analyse and act upon this data to improve our offerings and continue to meet the ever-evolving expectations of our users.
So digital commerce offers us a useful scope that contains numerous advantages in comparison to physical commerce, and a basic eCommerce approach. By combining digital commerce with other channels, we can create a truly omnichannel experience that can meet our users where they are, and transform overtime to meet their ever-changing needs.
Interested in learning more about how you can implement or improve digital commerce within your business? Check out some of our other posts on key aspects of mobile commerce, how to get a site market-ready within weeks, as well as why you should consider a PWA. Alternatively, you can get in touch and chat with our team of experts by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org or calling us on +353 (0)1 4750066