The advances of information technology have enabled consumers and businesses to buy and sell items over the Internet. With its flexibility, electronic commerce offers more opportunities than ever.

Along with the emerging of mobile devices and social media, the scope of electronic commerce has expanded into mobile commerce, social commerce, and video commerce. To cope with such challenges, companies should invest at the right commerce platform to meet those dynamic demands.

Are all e-commerce models the same?

Every retailer (whether it is a fashion retailer, electronic retailer, or consumer goods retailer) has a common goal to deliver great customer experiences in building up loyal customers. The only way differentiating one retailer to another is their capabilities. In this case, information technology plays a strategic role. Not all e-commerce software is the same and it is crucial to choose the right platform for your business.

Commerce Platform and Its Ecosystem

An effective commerce platform shall enable retailer to capture customer demands from various touchpoints (i.e. web, mobile, kiosks, social media, call center, and physical stores). On the next step, the commerce platform shall enable system integration with existing enterprise software applications (e.g. ERP software, inventory system, order management, CRM, etc). With that, the commerce platform shall support B2X business models (i.e. B2C, B2B, and B2B2C). At the end, a commerce platform shall facilitate omni-channel fulfillment scenarios e.g.:

  • Ship-from-Store
  • Ship-to-Store
  • Buy-Online-Pick-up In-Store (or Click-and-Collect)
  • Split delivery into different methods to different addresses

Commerce platform is not an exclusive system. It shall work along with existing applications including with suppliers’ system for supplies planning. It is about digitally-connected business.

Having personalized promotions in the commerce platform, it shall provide another attractive feature for customers. With nowadays technology, such personalized marketing can be done in real-time for a certain segment of customers based on static data and dynamic data in a non-aggressive way.

Advanced Features to Have in Commerce Platform

  • Personalized promotions with recommendation engine for cross-selling and up-selling
  • Personalized storefronts
  • Support selling of physical products and digital contents (items without SKU/stock keeping unit e.g. digital magazines, computer software, and ebooks)
  • Product search (either full-text search or guided search)
  • Support internationalization and localization for offerings, languages, taxes, and payment methods
  • Contract management and order management (including quoting, price negotiations, order replenishment, re-order, bulk orders)
  • Personalized storefronts with customized catalogs and customized pricing
  • Accounts management
  • Order approval workflow
  • Product search (either full-text search or guided search)

What Retailers Should Care About

  1. Have a competent cross-functional leadership team for sales, customer satisfaction, and brand perception
  2. Knowledgeable staff (in-store, call center, and e-mail support staff) for offline products and online products
  3. Actionable performance metrics for offline channel and online channel

Conclusion

As the summary, seamless commerce is enabled by a commerce platform which delivers a consistent experience across:

  • touchpoints (e.g. web, mobile, kiosks, social media, call center, and physical stores);
  • media (e.g. print, web, video, and e-mail);
  • devices (e.g. tablet computers, desktop computers, laptops, smartphones, and wearable gadgets); and
  • platforms (e.g. Windows, Android, iOS, and Blackberry).

Implementing seamless commerce shall deliver service innovation for your customers, create a brand differentiator, improve your operational efficiency, and reduce excess stock inventory in your warehouse.