Digital Commerce - Hype, Expectations and Reality

Digital Commerce is a hot topic today for both business-to-business (B2B) and Business-to-Customer (B2C) organizations. And rightly so! Customers expect convenience,  speed, security, trust and above all – a good deal. Given the changing market dynamics and evolving consumer behavior, traditional business and operating modes are nowhere sufficient to deliver the performance and outcomes required by the customers. On the other hand, Digital Commerce also offers a unprecedented degree of transparency, flexibility and control to organizations over their inventory, resources and supply chain. 

What is Digital Commerce?

According to Gartner Reseach, Digital commerce enables customers to purchase goods and services through an interactive and self-service experience. It includes the people, processes and technologies to execute the offering of development content, analytics, promotion, pricing, customer acquisition and retention, and customer experience at all touchpoints throughout the customer buying journey. 

Digital commerce includes both business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) transactions. B2C transactions involve selling products and services directly to individual consumers, while B2B transactions involve selling products and services to other businesses.

Digital Commerce creates a completely new capability for organizations to offer not just products and services rather expose their entire business and operating model to the customers. Digital Commerce is a new way of engaging with the customers where we can eliminate the friction in customer experience and instead offer build a business model and value proposition around the customer

Digital Commerce vs E-Commerce? 

On the surface, Digital Commerce and E-Commerce might look similar but there are significant difference between the two.

E-Commerce refers to the process of buying and selling goods and services over the internet through websites, mobile apps, marketplaces, social media platforms or any other internet enabled platform. The focus of e-commerce is on reducing the friction in the customer purchase journey and organization’s order to cash

From a customer’s persepctive, E-Commerce makes purchase easier by: 

1. Searching for the right products 

2. Finding all the relevant information to assess the utility of the product/service

3. Offering visual content like image and illustrations to make it easy for the customer to understand the product

4. Showing the right price, delivery options and payment options

5. Making it easy to place an order 

6. Easy to track the order in transit and make changes if needed to delivery address or terms

7. Making it easy to cancel/return the order and claim refunds

For organizations, E-Commerce offers new busines capabilities to 

1. Showcase products and services with all their variants and bundles

2. Set the right price for every region and time frames

3. Manage compliance to taxation and other regulations across the globe

4. Receive and fulfill the orders with ease 

5. Create better forecast about the demand and supply 

6. Generate insights about the customers and their buying behavior

7. Manage their supply chain and other resources in an optimum way

8. Overall, making it easy for the customers and suppliers to do business with them

Digital Commerce, on the other hand, is a much broader concept. Digital Commerce includes the entire customer buying journey from creating awareness to fulfilling needs – everything on a Digital Platform from customer acquisition and retention to a seamless experience at all touchpoints to order management to supply chain management to digital channels to analytics to innovation. Digital Commerce Platforms provide the same capabilities to Digital Commerce that ERPs provide to traditional business.  

Another key difference between e-commerce and digital commerce is the feedback loop between customer behavior and digital business. While they are both data-driven and offer endless opportunities to measure all parameters pertaining the transaction, e-commerce platforms have limited to ability to modify/customize prices, quantity, delivery parameters etc. Digital Commerce Platforms, on the other hand, enable even deeper capabilities to modify the offering or even configure new offerings on the go based on customer insights. ANd for this reason, Digital Commerce offers much deeper capabilities to become more agile and responsive to the market.

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