For decades, the consumer landscape has been dominated by eCommerce. Let’s define cCommerce as the use of the internet for the buying and selling of products and services. But increasingly, the landscape has been trending toward something called digital commerce.
Digital commerce may sound like a synonym for eCommerce, but the two are meaningfully different. In this article, we’ll take you through the definition of digital commerce, as well as what distinguishes it from eCommerce. We’ll also look at some examples and recent trends in digital commerce, and digital commerce consulting.
What Is Digital Commerce?
First let’s ask the obvious question: what is digital commerce? The digital commerce definition involves the buying and selling of products and services online, without any human intervention at all. Digital commerce encompasses the automation of every element of the buyer-seller interface, including marketing, product descriptions, analytics, user experience, sales, customer service, supply chain management, and order fulfillment.
Digital Commerce Vs. eCommerce?
Now let’s look at digital commerce vs. eCommerce. The two have a lot in common. However, they are also different in important ways. eCommerce involves some amount of human intervention, while digital commerce is totally automated at every stage of the customer journey. Many websites facilitate eCommerce, but other platforms—such as apps, virtual reality, and augmented reality—limit eCommerce. Digital commerce, by contrast, is “device agnostic” and strives toward an ecosystem encompassing a variety of platforms.
The two also have different goals. eCommerce is primarily about selling and transactions. eCommerce’s value pertains mostly to total revenue minus inventory costs. The goal of digital commerce relates more to engagement throughout the buying process—hence its seamless integration with mobile devices and other forms of digital content. Digital commerce’s value relates primarily to customer lifetime value (CLV), which describes the amount of revenue a particular customer offers over their lifelong engagement with a specific brand. By keeping the same consumers engaged, companies can keep marketing costs low.
Why Is Digital Commerce Important?
Next, let’s try to understand why digital commerce is important. By encompassing the powers of automation, advanced analytics, and the proliferation of new platforms, digital commerce represents the future of business-customer interactions. Digital commerce allows companies to meet consumers wherever they are.
Further, digital commerce allows companies to automate every aspect of sales, which helps them minimize costs while managing delicate processes like global supply chains at scale. By automating the most complex aspects of their operations, companies can use digital commerce to keep customers engaged with the quality and delivery of the products and services themselves.
Digital Commerce Examples
To get a better understanding of digital commerce, let’s look at some digital commerce examples.
The most obvious example of digital commerce is the online retail giant, Amazon. Amazon’s use of digital commerce allows customers all over the world to browse Amazon’s inventory and make purchases. Amazon’s infrastructure automatically determines how the products will be marketed, stocked, and shipped. Even the majority of the customer service interactions are automated, with human intervention only required in select cases.
Digital commerce can pertain to services as well. A platform like Upwork allows professionals to market their services to clients, with the entire process facilitated by Upwork’s automated services.
Digital Commerce Trends
Let’s examine some of the most popular digital commerce trends, so we can get a better understanding of how businesses are currently using digital commerce to meet their goals.
Platforms like VR and AR are providing new frontiers for customer engagement. Digital commerce companies are exploring new ways to exploit these frontiers, such as providing digital fitting rooms for customers to “try on” clothes before buying them.
Digital commerce companies are increasingly creating fully cohesive marketing campaigns that follow consumers from platform to platform, and from touchpoint to touchpoint. This keeps customers engaged within the brand’s multi-platform, multi-channel ecosystem.
Digital commerce is especially valuable in providing massive new data sets with unprecedented granularity, so businesses can better understand their customers’ behaviors and preferences.
As companies grow, their operations begin to involve more moving parts. This can become extremely complex, but digital commerce enables them to automate their operations to minimize complexity. For example, companies can use digital commerce to automate inventory control and shipping.
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Digital Commerce Consulting
The rising prevalence of digital commerce compels more companies to adopt it in order to remain competitive. This also means that more consulting companies are offering services in digital commerce. Many boutique digital commerce consulting operations are specializing in the practice, and larger firms like Accenture and BCG also offer digital commerce consulting.
The power of the internet has given companies unprecedented potential for growing their reach to a truly global scale. However, operating at this scale also presents greater challenges. Hence, the rise of digital commerce is an inevitable development in the business landscape. By automating every possible facet of the customer experience, digital commerce allows companies to minimize complexity and maximize customer engagement.
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