Consumers previously expected the digital commerce shopping experience to meet certain standards and for companies to try to match or exceed by delivering processes and policies that encouraged customers to continue shopping. While this was no easy task for companies, the lack of a variety of different touch points with customers made it difficult to deliver an excellent experience.
Today’s digital commerce has grown and turned the customer experience into a completely different proposition. Today, customers expect to be able to interact with and buy from companies through a variety of digital channels, be it web or mobile channels, online marketplaces or even through social commerce.
Each channel can present its own set of challenges that must be overcome to improve the customer experience. Website design may not allow enough information to generate conversions among consumers for high-consideration items. Mobile commerce may limit the branding elements needed to build ongoing affinity. Lack of technological maturity could limit efforts to deliver a good experience through social commerce.
To further complicate this dynamic, consumers are likely to interact with brands in multiple formats with different touch points, making the quest for an excellent customer experience one that needs to combine information from disparate sources.
Based on a customer experience leader, this ecosystem makes what was a case for reducing problems a much harder job. Essentially, it means that companies trying to deliver a customer-centric strategy have many more versions of the consumer to cater to.
All that said, e-commerce and mobile commerce opened up new frontiers for businesses, radically altering revenue performance across industries and separating a new pack of leaders. It will only continue to grow in importance as it makes shopping much more convenient for everyone.
Digital commerce also opened up more opportunities across the customer experience. While customer experience used to be individualized and delivered through relatively few channels, the variety of touchpoints now means that most companies are likely to be less than perfect, creating opportunities to outperform competitors. Recent research from Gartner showed that as many as 87% of companies expect to compete on customer experience by 2021.
To succeed, companies aim to deliver strategies that define each different arena in which to play, how to deliver an excellent experience in each, and what resources are needed to do so. This can be compared to performance metrics to optimize and balance over time as consumer behaviors and business needs change.
This must be an ongoing effort for customer experience leaders to engage. Customer experience will continue to evolve as commerce channels grow, affecting different sectors on different timelines and as companies seek to solve their core customer profiles.
Ultimately, the landscape is so different now than it was before digital commerce became mainstream. It’s hard to say when customers had better benefits, but it’s possible to comment that the work is much more complex. The good news is that it opens up opportunities for customer experience leaders to generate added value for their business like never before.