Why the “e” Dropped from eCommerce

2 minutes

From One-Off Buys to Long-Term Relationships in Digital Commerce

Forget e-commerce – digital commerce is here to stay. Analysts have recognized the change, officially rebranding their E-commerce coverage under the Digital Commerce name. The change makes a lot of sense, particularly given the rising importance of digital into the multi-channel commerce space.

The term “e-commerce” itself hearkens back to the early days of the web, when e- was an exciting new, hyphenated prefix, and pixelated shopping cart icons were a novel indicator you could make a rare online purchase. Times have changed, and now our terminology has evolved to match reality.

Setting the stage for digital commerce, Web 2.0 was identified as a motivating factor behind the shift to the e-commerce era. Savvy companies that understood the web spent their marketing efforts to direct people to buy online, rather than just using the web to send people to other sales channels. These web-focused companies won out and many have continued to succeed in our new digital era.

Now, digital disruption, particularly on mobile, has given people incredibly easy access to all the information and tools they need to make smart purchasing decisions. More than 70 percent of consumers use social networking, and people access their smartphones at least five times a day. Customer experiences now have to be carefully crafted across multiple devices and touchpoints.

Another notable change is that marketing teams are leading digital commerce efforts. In fact, marketing’s role in digital commerce has doubled, according to Gartner, with 62 percent of survey respondents saying marketing is critical to commerce success.

In addition, there has been a significant shift in buyer expectations. Buyers are expecting new ways to interact, try before they buy, and expect to pay-as-they-go – resulting in new pressures to manage revenue streams. It’s no longer about a single “e” channel – but now starts to encompass the entire business of commerce.

It’s only fitting that it takes digital commerce to provide the best purchasing experience to consumers on any channel, from online ads to email promotions to social media. As Gartner puts it, “Cohesive digital commerce experiences extend before and after the point of purchase, from targeting through retention.” Shopping online is no longer a one-off transaction, but a long-term relationship that flows throughout the web and mobile, going far past mere payment to establish ongoing interaction.

So what can companies do about the digital commerce revolution? As the buying process gets easier and more seamless for the end user, it becomes more complex in the back-end, for the vendor. A good starting point is to prepare a commerce blueprint that identifies all the elements impacted and enables a framework to manage this complexity. In other words, go beyond just “e”-Commerce to fully embrace digital commerce with a big “C” – across the organization and beyond – partners also need to join the digital dance, both by working with best of breed digital commerce solutions and adopting digital principles.

The journey has just begun, and digital commerce has subsumed “e”Commerce for good.

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