what role for the platforms?

A good ecommerce solution should no longer be content with checking out this single channel. It should offer an overview of the two major developments that digital commerce has recently experienced.

The world of online sales is constantly evolving. This is all the more true today that it is suffering the consequences – economic and social – of multiple crises.

Over the past couple of years, e-commerce has been essential for continued growth. Digital now plays the role of a key touch point towards hybrid, omnichannel or unified shopping experiences. Therefore, e-commerce and more generally digital strategies are no longer to be considered as yet another sales strategy, but must be at the service of the company’s overall strategy.

The notion of e-commerce is limited. Analysts such as Accenture, BCG, Gartner and the major international media are now talking about digital commerce to go beyond “e-commerce”, once an isolated channel, today a strategic sales driver.

Unfortunately, the e-commerce platforms that brands rely on are too often designed to meet tactical (and not strategic) needs. This makes it difficult to adapt to market changes and prevents brands from taking a holistic approach to sales.

A good ecommerce solution should no longer be content with checking out this single channel. It should offer an overview of the two major developments that digital commerce has recently experienced.

Evolution of the field of influence of e-commerce

The e-commerce business is no longer just about the internal E-commerce / IT binomial. The departments involved are much more numerous and the projects much more complex. The entire company is now involved internally (supply chain, all sales force, Comex) because all sales processes (B2C, B2B, etc.) must be digitized to pursue a common goal of growth. This raises the need for a platform where everything is “out of the box” and designed for a global strategy.

It is about going beyond monolithic models and assembling technological bricks at the right time, according to the specific needs of the trades and the general objectives of the company.

While the Comex will decide to distribute directly in BtoB, the marketing will want to launch live shopping and the teams in the field will be ready to manage the virtual shelves. This is just one example of the many changes that are imagined every day by the internal teams. But more rarely implemented.

As for the external ecosystem, today it requires an opening towards the outside to involve suppliers, distributors (internal stores, network of franchisees, partner distributors, exclusive or non-third-party vendors on the market) and of course customers. With the same activity, the ecosystem will be totally different depending on the sector, the business model (BtoB, BtoE, BtoC, etc.), the sales model (online, offline, hybrid) and the sales format (license, white label, franchising, cooperatives, concessions …)

The platform that drives digital commerce must stand out for its extreme connectivity and its flexibility to receive new features based on the specific needs of the business model.

Finally, remember that these internal and external problems differ and become even more complex depending on the nature of the company, which may own different brands, different sales models, operate nationally or internationally.

Evolution of the temporality of e-commerce

Since digital commerce is now at the center of the company’s overall strategy, it is no longer just about a complementary axis of online sales, but all the company’s growth axes, including those to come. Hence the importance of managing digital commerce through a platform capable of responding to any strategic orientation, anticipated or not.

To be sustainable, this platform must therefore be scalable and responsive. Digital today has such an impact on the business model that it must be able to evolve over the long term, without starting from scratch or superimposing countless technological layers. Its base must evolve with the business by supporting full or partial “replatforming” because the technology must serve the company’s growth strategy and not constrain it.

Until then, current practices consisted of combining and linking solutions (OMS, CMS, etc.) to get the best out of each company. This structure is now largely obsolete. It is not ready to respond to strategic pivots whose decision and execution must be made quickly in the face of external risks. These upheavals sometimes profoundly affect the supply chain (conflict in Ukraine) or consumption patterns (COVID-19).

Furthermore, it does not adapt to changing uses (live purchase, chat, metaverse, etc.), nor to the needs that are now part of the daily life of consumers. Allow differentiated deliveries on multiple items during the same order (home, store, relay point), show available stock in real time, allow online ordering from the store, etc.

These omnichannel mechanics are difficult to spin when they are the result of technological interweaving, not to mention the cost of subsequent redeployments and their maintenance. Redesigning your online sales system exclusively to meet a new need taken in isolation today no longer makes sense. This is the best way to always stay behind in the market and above all to see your costs explode.

Digital commerce is essential because it is strategic. It must be placed at the center of the company’s long-term growth vision. All internal teams and external partners must unite around these challenges so that the company’s digital ecosystem is sustainable and profitable.

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