E-commerce is nothing new. It started out in the 90’s and with Amazon all of us became quite fluent in using it. With the spread of credit card usage, mobile devices and various online business models, today e-commerce is part of daily life.
But still all of us leave our homes, our offices and go out for dining, fitness, shopping, dating and other social activities. Shops and malls will not disappear any time soon. But even in the shops, the shopping experience, the dining experience, the fitness experience will become ever more digital.
Why? For the consumer usually it means convenience, richness of information, comparing features and prices, sharing on social media, and much more. Digital enabled commerce is much more engaging and much more interactive. Consumers feel empowered, convenience is very attractive, and if it’s delivered on time to the place I want, it’s unbeatable.
Basic Consumer Expectations
So, establishing multi-channels, creating an e-commerce website with a mobile friendly version, developing a native shopping app with future expansion options such as subscription models, sharing economy approaches, and so forth, is a very basic consumer expectation. Praise may not come immediately, while criticism and disappointment are guaranteed. Nevertheless, keep moving forward.
What is convenient for the consumer, is amazingly valuable for the company. Imagine you sell books in a store. What do you know about your consumer? Probably her name, the payment method, if there is a loyalty program you might have collected some history, and you know her mobile number and e-mail. But that’s it. Nothing more.
Imagine that consumer visits your web site via the mobile in her palm or uses your app. First, she looks on the bestselling list. Then, she investigates some book categories. Then, she picks one book, reads a few pages via the “look inside” feature but didn’t add it to the basket. She went back to the bestselling list, clicked on number three, and put that in her basket instead. But then, all of a sudden, she changes her mind again. Deleted the book from the basket, went back to the other one, bought that and finally checked out, then selected the summer cottage house as the delivery address.
You know all her moves. You can imagine her thoughts. You can guess where and when she will read the book: on an upcoming holiday, on retreat at the summer cottage, while relaxing over the weekend. You can collect all this data for the millions of visitors to your web site or mobile app.
The most beneficial aspect of e-commerce
The precision and granularity of the information you can gather on digital channels is so much more than on physical channels. It is the most beneficial aspect of e-commerce. The better you know your customers, the better you can serve them, and the better you can organize your product and service portfolio, the better you can optimize your inventory. The better you can run totally targeted campaigns that are adjusted to the individual, the better you can factor in the individuals’ mood, location, purpose and other parameters. You would never be able to interact this intimately with a traditional analog customer in a physical store. Only with e-commerce can you fully meet your customers wildest expectations and keep them coming back.
E-commerce is not just popular because of COVID-19. E-commerce has seen a doubling in growth figures during the lockdown cycles. But trends in e-commerce might not continue in the same manner. The numbers may slow down. We are social beings; we will go out shopping and dining again.
Please review our “Retail Digital Future Scenarios Report” to understand possible future scenarios and that “digital commerce or die” is not the only way to move forward.
The genie is out of the bottle. Customers will continue to have growing expectations in terms of channels, delivery speed, convenience, price and quality. You have to live with it, and you have to cope with it.
Digital can be your friend or foe. It’s your decision to embrace it or leave it alone. In any case, successful retailers, merchants, shopping apps, subscription models or any other customer facing outlets, will embrace digital, will benefit from analytics as much as possible and will provide the best experience possible, either in store or online.
Digital is a fact of life. This is for sure. There is no other future. Turn it into your competitive edge. Contact us if you want to have a more detailed discussion on this topic and explore how you can embrace and maximise your benefit from E- Commerce.
We are trusted advisors to many great companies on their digital journeys. Our passion and focus help businesses succeed. Digitopia is an objective and independent management consulting firm driven by values and delivering tangible impact.