At the dawn of the 2020s, e-commerce is expected to generate more than $ 480 billion in the United States and nearly $ 2 trillion globally. And while Amazon takes a lot of credit for everything online, they are not the only game in town. A significant portion of online retail is being generated by smaller players, in part through platforms like Shopify that facilitate sales in the digital space, but also in person, and that have the potential to merge the business. Online and offline experience. omnichannel version of the trade. Let's take a look at how we got here, and how e-commerce platforms and retailers should operate in this flawless new market.
Switch to Shopify
In 2004, Tobias Lütke, a supplier of fine snowboards, wanted to sell his products online. Today, it would be simple. In the world before Shopify, ecommerce platforms were clumsy and difficult to integrate with other services and platforms. Rather than continuing to frustrate himself and limit his business, Lütke put in long coding days to create software that would better meet his needs.
In short, Lütke and his partners moved their entrepreneurial efforts from their snowboard origins to the software solution he had designed and refined. It turned out that it was a good decision – a few years later, investors rushed to help them evolve their solution. Today, Shopify manages more than half a million businesses in 175 countries and generates annual revenues of more than $ 150 million.
Birth of Mobile and Social Commerce
Shopify ushered in the era of e-commerce, and now e-commerce has produced a significant pair of offspring:
- m-commerce – The mobile version of e-commerce has developed rapidly, thanks to the increase in the size of screens, the reactive design and the continued proliferation of mobile devices. M-commerce is expected to reach $ 335 billion by 2020, up from about $ 80 billion in 2015, and Business Insider predicts that m-commerce will account for nearly half of all e-commerce by 2020 .
- s-commerce – Social commerce is a growing branch of online sales, with three-quarters of consumers using social networks to inform their purchases. S-commerce includes direct, peer-to-peer channels such as eBay or Etsy, advertisements and referrals via social networks like Facebook and Twitter, and targeted wholesale promotions like those offered by LivingSocial and Groupon. Statista reports that global e-commerce revenue is $ 20 billion, but beyond hard and fast figures, the social plays a vital role in customer engagement, strengthening the image of brand and increase traffic to retailer sites.
The success of Shopify is due in large part to the fact that it encompasses this wide variety of channels. In addition to an eCommerce platform, the Shopify platform has integrated channels for Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Amazon and several other social / business platforms, as well as a software development kit to help support business. Other third parties to develop their own integrations. To date, Facebook is dominating its e-commerce sales, accounting for two-thirds of Shopify's m-commerce and 85% of all m-commerce.
Merging with the Physical Market
The success of Shopify – as well as the achievements of other e-commerce providers like BigCommerce and Magento – indicates a clear demand for online sales solutions. But we must not forget that e-, m- and s-commerce are not the only sources of sales in the digital age, or even the most important ones. Brick and mortar companies still represent an overwhelming majority of retail sales, with more than one million businesses racking up nearly $ 4 trillion a year in the United States alone, according to Retail Touchpoints. Shopify knows that it is dangerous to ignore the giant of the physical showcase. For this reason, they continue to support offline transactions, offering point-of-sale solutions and physical card readers for businesses of all sizes.
Retailers should be inspired by Shopify and stop perceiving online and offline sales as competition between marketplaces. Instead, they should recognize that digital and physical storefronts can and should complement each other significantly. For example, Retail Touchpoints reports that half of the customers who browse physical stores buy online later, and even more online merchants, and then buy offline. More than a third of every dollar spent offline has been influenced by digital interactions, accounting for over a trillion dollars worth of purchases per year. Increasingly, it is beneficial for retailers to stop seeing the physical, digital, social and mobile markets as separate markets, but rather to look at all channels together, through a single lens.
Data Integration Boosts Multichannel Shopping Experience
The ability to completely merge online and offline shopping experiences requires the integration of data – and the data can be a blessing and a curse. A blessing because of the analytical gold mine that can help retailers understand and reach consumers; a curse because data is rarely complete – and an incomplete picture of consumer behavior can lead to poor decision-making about inventory, product design, service offerings and, of course, marketing.
That's why Shopify and other multichannel players are actively looking for various integrations. The more channels they can track, the more potential customers have access to the data – and this helps them understand their customers . The result: consumers get more relevant offers, retailers get better conversion rates and Shopify receives satisfied customers. It's a win-win-win agreement.
Call the intelligence: the missing piece
Shopify's multi-channel trading platform is arguably the most comprehensive offering on the market today. Even so, they missed a critical piece that prevents them from providing a complete data image to their customers. And this missing piece is called intelligence.
Opponents of blind technology might suggest that the calls are dead – that online channels have killed the phone as surely as they killed the phone book. But the data suggests the opposite. Consider that:
- Some sales and marketing organizations track incoming calls as 10 times more likely to convert than other channels.
- The proliferation of mobile devices has doubled incoming calls in the past three years to reach more than 60 billion calls per year and is expected to reach nearly 200 billion over the next three years.
- Online ad providers like Google found that up to 62% of customers preferred the "Call Direct" type of options to ad clicks.
And keep in mind that some numbers of calls are probably under-represented due to the fact that calls are less likely to be tracked accurately than methods more often such as clicks and submitted forms.
Absence of a true omnichannel experience
For several years, Shopify and other multichannel retailers have been talking about an "omnichannel experience" – an experience that offers a seamless journey to consumers, merging offline and online shopping in a holistic way . And in many ways, they got closer. But as long as the calls are not integrated precisely and consistently, customer trips are incomplete and conversions incorrectly assigned.
Consider the customers who seem to drop the data radar after many online commitments. Did they fail to convert? Or did they buy the product you targeted them with – or another product – over the phone? Failure to capture this data may lead to less relevant offers in the future and lower overall conversion rates.
The omnichannel requires an intelligence of call
E-commerce is great for online data collection, and platforms like Shopify with POS (Point of Sale), as well as Google Analytics and various social integrations, bring together an overview. Just not complete. Until now. As responsible for a true omni-channel approach, CallTrackingMetrics recently released the first Shopify integration that not only follows but also responds to incoming calls from customers.
With a hub intelligence hub centered on the omnichannel, retailers now have access to complete order history and other crucial call data. and can integrate this data into the rest of their marketing image to fully understand the journey of their customers. And off. Telephone intelligence platforms can also trigger automatic responses to customer inquiries by calling, sending an email, or texting to the customer – or a retailer – to inform them of the status of the order. and other relevant information. This helps to move the buying process, improve the consumer experience and generate future conversions. More importantly, it takes advantage of all possible retail channels and integrates them: the true omni-channel experience has finally arrived.
As e-commerce continues to absorb a larger and larger share of retail (and should do so regularly), it will become more and more important for retailers and platforms that 39 they use to adopt true omnichannel capabilities. Phone calls. To please customers and create conversions and loyalty, anything that is far from transparent does not cut it in the years to come.