“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent; it is the one most adaptable to change.” — Charles Darwin, British naturalist.
The past year we’ve seen how supply chains have had to cope with shortages and elastic prices, trade policy turbulence, and economic uncertainty. Customer demand dropped or increased dramatically, depending on product and service categories, government policies, and audiences. Digital channels have proven to be more important than ever before, when it comes to functioning as a backup for fulfilment and replenishment due to spiking demand. For many, their existing digital capabilities have been pushed to their limit.
Embrace digital to keep up
With businesses becoming increasingly dependent on their digital commerce channels to meet customer demand and expectations, the urgency to fully embrace digital in order to sustain market share and grow revenue has reached a boiling point. The increase of customer inflow on digital channels presents a huge opportunity to build loyalty in both existing and new customer bases. Some companies already relied heavily on their digital commerce channels for a significant part of their revenues these last years. For others, the urgency to fully embrace digital commerce has now also become unmistakably apparent. Regardless of the digital maturity of your business, the previous years should have provided plenty of insights and learnings. Now is the time to put those to good use, and at the very least offer the level of quality your customers have come to expect online.
The main question you should always be asking yourself, even more so after these turbulent times, is if customers are satisfied and engaged when interacting with your company or product. Your digital ecosystem is a potent tool for success, not the end goal in and of itself. To succeed in the digital realm, it’s essential to define a clear set of goals for your entire business, alongside a clear vision and roadmap of how to achieve them. The changes in the market also create many opportunities for breaking down borders and reaching out to partners directly, without third party involvement, turning local dealers into direct customers, to name but one example.
Flexibility meets customer-centricity
Whether shopping on a B2B or B2C platform, the bar in regards to customer expectations has been raised. Improving customer experiences across marketing, commerce, sales, and service is more than just a demand from sellers; convenience is now key for guaranteeing a successful transaction. When used properly, CX is a tool that offers many valuable opportunities for increasing revenue and building trust, while at the same time boosting customer acquisition, retention, and loyalty.
Your most complex internal processes should be challenged on how customer-centric they truly are. Putting your customers’ needs and wants before your own, in turn, will ensure your ability to achieve your business goals. However, meeting all changing customer demands requires that your e-commerce platform is flexible and extensible, functioning either as a standalone or complementary extension to your existing commerce applications.
Less complexities, for both you and your customers
Deployments of updates and improvements to the experience you provide your customers shouldn’t be too time consuming. A modern day digital commerce platform should allow for merchandising and personalization towards customers, in addition to easy order-handling and support for your employees. In these already challenging times, staying ahead of the competition depends on your ability to reduce complexities and support your business.
At an increasing rate, digital commerce platforms are becoming the centre piece of viable commerce strategies. Strategies that consist of many more pieces to manage and maintain. But when deployed correctly, running an e-commerce platform shouldn’t make your life more complex. To illustrate, being able to connect to marketplaces to acquire new customers, or to chatbots to enable customer support across the entire customer journey, should free up valuable resources.
Embrace change and make it work to your advantage
According to Gartner: “By 2022, organizations using multiple go-to-market approaches for digital commerce will outperform non-commerce organizations by 30 percentage points in sales growth." When it comes to deciding on the right e-commerce solution for you, having so many options nowadays is amazing, of course. But it doesn’t exactly make selecting the right platform any easier.
With so many product features and non-functional requirements to consider, it can be quite challenging to decide on the right e-commerce solution for your business. Especially if you are somewhat new to this subject. Getting to know and understand all the options that are out there can go a long way, but it’s recommended to stay focused on what you actually need. Consider which of your current features may need improvements, which new features could actually end up driving business value, and how your needs may change and develop in the years to come. Don’t forget; The only constant in life is change. Having a flexible and extensible platform is the key ingredient for making change work to your advantage.
“ArcelorMittal: The digitization of their sales activities has been a real win for ArcelorMittal, with more than 20% of sales coming from their webshop in certain regions. It also allowed for the development of new business opportunities; focusing on both B2C and B2B customers further strengthened their number one position on the market,” Miele and ArcelorMittal.