Erika Goldwater, Director Global Communications at inRiver, explains the concept of “next-level” commerce in B2C and B2B, setting out what ecommerce experiences need to deliver today.
The rise of digital commerce has propelled both buyers and sellers to radically change their shopping and buying behaviors over the last decade. Online sales quickly became the darling for retailers and B2C companies with the introduction of Amazon and other marketplaces. However, we no longer have separate expectations for personal and business buying. Why should purchasing parts for an industrial welding machine be different than a parts for a lawn mower? In 2020, the buying experience needs to be exceptional for every purchase.
The demand for digital commerce is not slowing down. In fact, by May of 2020 US ecommerce transactions reached $82.5 billion – a 77% increase from 2019. It would have taken four to six years to reach that number in the US if looking at traditional annual year over year increases according to a recent Forbes article.
Everyone sells online, and to be successful, organizations need to sell anywhere a buyer might want to buy. The challenge is that that the channels and marketplaces are constantly evolving and it’s hard to keep up.
So, what’s the solution?
For organizations to be successful, whether B2B, B2C or DTC, it’s going to take delivering the “next-level” of digital commerce to drive sales. It’s no longer enough to offer your products online or even omnichannel. Buyers demand more and it means thinking about processes, technology, and the buyer journey differently.
What does “next-level” digital commerce mean?
A frictionless path to purchase for buyers:
Make finding products fast and easy across any channel. Start with optimizing search engine optimization (SEO). A recent study by inRiver shows that 45% of buyers visit Amazon first, not a company website to find a product or solution. If you don’t come up in a basic search, you are not likely to drive engagement.
However, research also shows that younger generations rely less on marketplaces to find products, so SEO matters even more with younger generations.
Customer and purchase data is available on just about anything, but too often, teams don’t leverage it. Use the data you already have on buyer preferences, past purchases, location, and context to deliver the right product, at the right time.
This means showing a replacement part for the welding equipment they just reviewed online, or using “shop the room” for home décor accessories to go with furniture in their cart. Context and personalization can make or break a sale.
Immersive buying experiences:
The immersive technology that is available today is nothing short of amazing. Building on the need for personalization, innovative technologies that use 3D images, augmented reality or virtual reality like Threekit, take personalization to that “next-level.”
It’s a powerful buying experience if you can see how that new piece of welding equipment or drill looks at a 300% zoom or how will fit in your warehouse layout. How impactful would it be to see how new furniture will actually look in your home office? SaaS technologies like Threekit can quickly and easily integrate across platforms to deliver really exceptional, personalized experiences. Define what would optimize the buying experience and do it. The technology is there to enable it.
It’s the best and often the most effective marketing if your buyers do it for you. The rise of user-generated content helps take digital commerce to the “next-level” via relevant, authentic, and trustworthy product data. Unboxing videos, makeup tutorials, DIY videos using products, or even examples like the TikTok Ocean Spray skateboarder provide an unprecedented view of products and services. And, with an authenticity brands can’t deliver on their own.
As we move into 2021, lockdowns continue, offices are closed, and we are learning how to live and work without as much physical interaction as before. Brands from retailers to industrial manufacturers need to evolve their digital commerce to meet new expectations. Buyers want more: They want to have buying “experiences,” and not just online shopping.