Gartner defines digital commerce as the design and execution of marketing activities that enable and encourage customers and prospects to research, evaluate and purchase products online. While e-commerce refers to sales through an online shop, digital commerce can refer to any sales channel driven by digital technologies.
Gartner predicts that through 2022, 50% of large organizations will have failed to unify engagement channels, resulting in a disjointed and siloed customer experience that lacks context.
Gartner’s Digital Commerce for Marketing Leaders 2021 research says to remedy this organizations should deliver frictionless omnichannel experiences to create more connected experiences for customers and further drive digital commerce.
“Frictionless omnichannel commerce provides consistent, streamlined experiences across channels throughout the customer journey, and this has increased in importance since the outbreak of the pandemic,” said Matt Moorut, principal analyst in the Gartner Marketing practice.
“Frictionless omnichannel experiences allow organizations to not only provide customers with more purchase and fulfilment options, but also enable customers to quickly switch engagement methods in case of channel disruption. This enables marketing leaders to better protect business-critical revenue streams.”
Despite many consumers moving online to purchase goods during COVID-19 lockdowns, the perceived benefit of in-person shopping remains strong. This means organizations that have wide-reaching store footprints are well-positioned to leverage frictionless omnichannel experiences. Those without a brick-and-mortar presence can still tap into the benefits of frictionless omnichannel experiences by partnering with third parties.
Frictionless omnichannel experiences need to go beyond just buying online, in-store pickup and curbside pickup, and enable a truly seamless experience for selling, serving, fulfilling and delivering.
Recommendations for marketers:
Feature fulfilment options: Highlight customers’ fulfilment options clearly within the purchase journey to increase overall sales. For example, allow customers to choose between in-store pickup and drive-up curbside pickup for goods, with clear instructions linked from product detail pages.
Incentivize omnichannel sales: Test thresholds for incentivizing omnichannel sales, such as offering a gift card to encourage customers to buy online and pick up in-store or curbside. This also has the added benefit of alleviating shipping pressures when completing a purchase.
Ensure consistent messaging: Work with customer service leaders to ensure that messaging is consistent for customers when switching among channels, including social networks, chatbots and contact centres.
Integrate digital inventory: Partner with supply chain leaders to push for better integration of inventory across digital touchpoints to show available inventory per store location. This informs buying decisions from any channel.
Prioritize partnerships: Select partnerships that extend frictionless omnichannel shopping, including online marketplaces, especially where first-party options are limited.