Why we’re dropping the “e” in eCommerce. And why you should too.
by Amanda Nichols
The rise of m-commerce, the struggles with social-commerce, the growing maturity of e-commerce, the integration of technology into physical commerce… it can be, no it is, overwhelming. As marketers, we feel the need to distinguish between the different types of platforms consumers use to research and purchase products. We have mobile teams responsible for developing shopping apps, and optimizing the mobile experience. We have social teams responsible for increasing engagement through social channels, promoting product and, sometimes, trying to figure out how to crack the code on social commerce. There’s the traditional brick & mortar teams trying to figure out how to survive in this crazy digital world, and where they fit in among m-s-e-commerce. And let’s not forget the brand and marketing teams trying to acquire, engage and create an emotional connection between the consumer and brand among all of these various platforms and technologies.
As we’re so focused on the different shopping channels, we often refer to our consumer as omni-channel, and discuss how they interact with each channel, and then we struggle to define how each channel influences the other, and which has the most influence on the ultimate purchase decision. We have the best intentions. We want to make sure we’re optimizing each channel to meet the customer on his terms, and interact with her the way she wants to interact with us. However, in doing so, we err on the side of overcomplicating things.
In 2009 Forrester declared an end to the ‘e’ in eCommerce. They saw the eCommerce platform becoming increasing central to the overall business of commerce as the eCommerce platforms migrated from a transactional technology into the hub for of all marketing and targeting activity.
“Gone are the days when this was a standalone channel that took the side roads, while the retail channel chugged along the train tracks. It is time to think about dropping the “e” from “eCommerce platform” and calling it what it is really becoming — a commerce platform.”
In this 2009 report, they sketched out this schematic of the evolution of the eCommerce platform. In 2014, this graphic would be even more chaotic with the inclusion of mobile, social and in-store technologies and systems integration.
Today, the graphic would also have to account for content marketing activities, as they too have a place in the larger commerce ecosystem. As any good marketer knows, the customer journey has become incredibly complex. However, technological and operational challenges prevent many marketers from fully tapping into this ecosystem and optimizing every touchpoint. We need a new approach. One system can’t fully manage all of these customer touch points from both an operational and experiential perspective.
In 2014, 5 years after Forrester declared an end to the ‘e’ in eCommerce, we would like to not only agree, but take it one step further. We see the immediate future of commerce, the new future, as the end of the commerce vs. branding fight being carried out on so many homepages.
Commerce teams are charged with increasing AOV, UPT and conversion rates. Branding teams are charged with engagement and developing this emotional connection. The in-store game has completely changed, often resulting with the in-store experience being an after thought throughout the digital experience. Traditionally these teams have lived in a separate, but equal universe, with the commerce team owning the conversion experience and the Brand team owing the branding experience, and the in-store team struggling to fit in. These worlds have collided digitally resulting in a separate but equal world, and a disjoined user experience. We would like to declare the end to the ‘click here for brand, click here for commerce’ storefront so often seen on major brands.
In 2014 both Forrester and Mary Meeker predicted the integration of content, commerce and community as the way of the future. Here at Acquia, we couldn’t agree more. But, as many of us know, and as Refinery 29 aptly noted, it’s hard. So we’re trying to make it easier. Acquia Commerce provides all the tools and technologies retailers need to drop the silos between brand and commerce teams and join forces to provide the best possible experience to the consumer.