Commerce is deeper and more intricate than you may think. Selling things for a profit is really only part of it. There’s so much more to think about. You have to build a strategy for acquiring and retaining customers, you have to know how to source for the best suppliers, how to market your products/services and more. For instance, if you’re a wine manufacturer, not only do you have to package your wine in a way that appeals to the masses, you need to come up with content to market it with, such as the benefits of wine and the like.
As technology continues advancing at a rapid pace, keeping up could prove difficult for business leaders, entrepreneurs, and workers who are not up to the challenges that the future will bring. Today, rising up and facing challenges head-on can be pivotal when it comes to standing out from the competition.
E-commerce can be quite a different game. Although it may bear some resemblance to traditional commerce, it can come with a heightened level of sophistication. Coming from a background in traditional commerce, you may find a steep learning curve involved in the transition. First of all, that dusty tablet that you only take out to play puzzle games and relax in front of the TV? You’re going to want to get more comfortable with your devices.
Get as intimate as you can with them. E-commerce is (as you’ve probably figured out by now) quite dependent on technology and you’re definitely going to need to know as much as possible about how to use your devices, including the app(s) and platform(s) that will be central to getting your listed products into the hands of your customers.
Next, you may find a bunch of jargon that you’re going to have to familiarize yourself with. If you’ve been in traditional commerce for a while, however, fret not as you may quickly be able to grasp terms like multi-channel and omni-channel. If you’re fresh to the world of business, it may not be as easy but anyway, put simply, “multi” means “many”, while “omni” means “all”. Easy enough right?
To look at it in a little more detail, multi-channel is about using various platforms to interact with your potential customers, while omni-channel is about providing your customers with an integrated shopping experience with the multi-channel sales approach.
Try and take a moment to let that sink in.
Both approaches can include both digital and physical channels for you to sell across, however, customer experience differs between the two. A multi-channel retailer may have a website and physical store but those channels may have little or no interconnection between them. For example, if you sell products in the electronics category of a deals site, you have to take note that those same deals may not be present in the physical store. A customer’s interaction with the website and the store are, therefore, separate subjects and this means that the different channels are essentially treated like separate businesses. This is something that those accustomed to traditional commerce (running one brick and mortar store for example) may take some getting used to.
Having said that, however, you should also bear in mind that your customers may favor an omni-channel retailer over a multi-channel retailer. Your customers might prefer a unified interaction with a retailer’s different channels, whether offline, online, in the store, on mobile or through social media.
So, if customers may generally prefer an omni-channel retailer, why doesn’t every retailer adopt the omni-channel approach?
Well, they probably would if it was really that easy…
There are many businesses that have implemented elements of omni-channel within their business, such as “reserve in store” or “click and collect”. Still, very few of those businesses have completely embraced its implementation.
This barrier may stem from factors such as cost and ROI or the availability of technology among other factors.
Think about it. If it really was all that easy, there wouldn’t be any competition and competition is vital to a thriving market economy. Instead of fearing competition, it is essential for every businessperson to always be on the lookout for clever methods and tactics, arming themselves with the tools and knowledge to stay up-to-date with trends and technological advances.