Communication will change and communication is what we need to do for e-commerce.
We will see a move away from channel thinking. Channel in direction mobile vs. desktop, but also display vs. social vs. search vs. e-mail or others. In the past we did communication based on environment, then on interest and in future it will be a predictive 1:1 communication. We need to focus on our target groups, doesn’t matter if it’s a user, customer or prospects.
We need to communicate (for each one) the right content, the right product and the right message at the right time and the right place. So why we are talking about E-Commerce trends?
Spoken provocative E-Commerce is just one communication channel. Today every channel has it’s own targets, in future there will be only one target, the customer.
The described scenario to move away from channel thinking is a future vision and will need years to take place. In the meantime we need to deal with people and technology till this transformation will be done. Today there are different responsibilities within companies (PR, branding, advertising, e-commerce, etc.). Everyone has it own targets and his own view on things, but the direction is the same and what’s needed (mainly technology) is very similar.
So we are talking about Digital Transformation and / or IoT. What does this means?
- New Products and Services
- Simplifying and shorten Processes (mainly driven by IT)
- Customer Experience
Let’s get back to E-Commerce. If we ask around what will be the most important trends we get answers like:
This are just some high level points. There is a lot to do to win new clients and keep / grow existing ones. Successfully will be who understands his user / clients on a one-by-one level and is able to automate his processes (internal & external). It’s important to automate communication processes but also integrate distribution and production processes into it. A huge flexibility is needed to get things done and have a competitive advantage.
E-Commerce has many steps before someone enters a shop. First there is the phase where someone thinks the first time about buying something from a product category, then he is thinking about what is his need with this and how is the market looking. He is looking for recommendations, tests and experiences. This process can take place offline, within social or just through search. To reach a person in this phase you need to have the right message / content at the right time and the right place. This content comes before the first offer.
It’s a different approach to reach out to new people then to existing user / clients. If you know someone you already have data, otherwise you need to have a look who can offer you information about potential new user / clients. Growing existing clients from a one-time shopper to a regular shopper with more than x Euro per year is the next level.
Maybe you think now all this points are not new. You are right!
All this points are more or less done today, but mainly on a low level and there is no-one who is doing all this points on a high-level. There are many barriers in each of these points. Barriers within people and technology. The good point is, that most of this points are not only relevant for e-commerce. Data centralization for example affects all departments within a company, so there will be budget from different departments to do so. E-commerce is just a part of the digital transformation.
To sum it up: It’s essential to move away from any channel thinking and focusing on understanding people / user / clients. Think about the entire lifecycle, not just the shopping lifecycle. We need to have an integrated and customer centric approach within the entire company first, then think about commerce. Thinking about Commerce and not only E-Commerce. For sure Commerce will be more and more centralized and taking place digital, but it’s not only digital. The current digital transformation is a huge chance for customer, but also for companies to adopt their processes on the client.