Today, it’s become common to hear the phrase digital commerce in conversations about digital transformation and e-commerce. But how is digital commerce different from e-commerce, exactly?
In our complete guide to digital commerce, you’ll learn just that. Plus: how digital commerce is relevant to B2B product sellers today, along with the strategies and tools you need to implement a digital commerce ecosystem that works for your business.
What is digital commerce?
At its core, digital commerce refers to the process of buying and selling goods and services using the internet and electronic devices. It encompasses a wide array of activities, from online shopping platforms to mobile commerce applications.
In the context of businesses, digital commerce involves the electronic exchange of goods, services, and information between companies and their customers, suppliers, and other business partners.
Digital commerce vs e-commerce – what’s the difference?
Often used interchangeably, digital commerce and e-commerce have subtle distinctions.
E-commerce primarily revolves around online transactions, including retail sales to consumers.
On the other hand, digital commerce encompasses a broader spectrum, incorporating not just transactions but also electronic data interchange, online marketing, analytics, user experience mapping, supply chain management, product descriptions, and more.
In essence, while e-commerce is a subset of digital commerce, the latter encapsulates a more comprehensive range of digital interactions in the business world. Testing the element
Why do you need digital commerce?
Investing in digital commerce is crucial at a time where 72% of B2B buyers start their purchase journey online. Digital commerce offers an unprecedented opportunity to expand market reach, enhance customer engagement, optimize operational efficiency, and ultimately boost revenue.
According to Sana Commerce’s B2B Buyer Report, 74% of B2B buyers say they would switch suppliers if another B2B web store offered a better experience. For B2B product sellers, embracing digital commerce is not just a strategic choice; it is a necessity to stay competitive and relevant in the modern business landscape.
How does digital commerce in B2B work?
Digital commerce in the B2B sector is a multifaceted ecosystem where businesses interact, collaborate, and transact online. Unlike B2C transactions, B2B digital commerce involves complex processes tailored to the unique needs of businesses.
It includes bulk orders, negotiated pricing, personalized catalogs, seamless integration with enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, and efficient inventory management.
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Types of B2B digital commerce
Within the realm of Business-to-Business (B2B) digital commerce, distinct sectors are embracing innovative solutions tailored to their unique needs.
B2B digital commerce in manufacturing:
Manufacturing businesses are leveraging digital commerce to streamline complex supply chains and optimize production processes. Through specialized platforms, manufacturers can:
- automate procurement
- manage inventory levels, and
- collaborate with suppliers seamlessly.
Real-time data insights enable predictive maintenance, ensuring machines operate at peak efficiency.
With the help of a properly implemented digital commerce strategy, manufacturers enhance production agility, reduce costs, and foster stronger partnerships with suppliers.
B2B digital commerce in wholesale:
Wholesalers are embracing digital commerce to transcend geographical boundaries and tap into global markets. Digital platforms empower wholesalers to showcase:
- vast product catalogs
- automate order processing, and
- offer personalized pricing for bulk orders.
Advanced analytics enable wholesalers to identify trends, manage inventory effectively, and optimize pricing strategies.
With streamlined operations, wholesalers can enhance customer relationships, improve order accuracy, and drive sustainable growth.
B2B digital commerce in distribution:
In the realm of distribution, digital commerce is revolutionizing the movement of goods and optimizing logistics. Distributors leverage technology to:
- enhance inventory visibility
- automate order fulfillment, and
- optimize shipping routes.
Smart warehouse management systems enable real-time tracking, reducing order processing times and minimizing errors.
Digital solutions also facilitate demand forecasting, ensuring distributors can meet customer needs promptly. By embracing digital tools, distributors enhance operational efficiency, reduce costs, and deliver exceptional service.
B2B digital commerce in retail:
Retailers are redefining customer experiences through digital commerce, bridging the gap between online and offline shopping.
B2B digital commerce solutions enable retailers to:
- create seamless omnichannel experiences, allowing businesses to manage inventory across various sales channels.
- leverage personalized marketing strategies, offering tailored promotions and recommendations to B2B customers.
- facilitate collaborative product development, enabling retailers to respond swiftly to market demands.
By embracing digital transformation, retailers enhance customer loyalty, drive sales, and stay ahead in competitive markets.
Digital commerce strategy: the essentials
Businesses, regardless of their size or industry, are recognizing the importance of a carefully crafted digital commerce strategy to navigate the complexities of the online market space. Let’s delve into the key elements of a potent digital commerce strategy that empowers businesses to thrive in the digital age.
Understanding customer needs:
At the heart of every successful digital commerce strategy lies a deep understanding of customer needs and preferences. Through comprehensive market research and data analysis, businesses can identify their target audience, their pain points, and their purchasing behaviors.
Armed with this knowledge, businesses can tailor their digital offerings, creating personalized experiences that resonate with their customers. Understanding customer needs forms the bedrock upon which all other aspects of a digital commerce strategy is built.
Seamless user experience (UX):
A seamless and intuitive user experience is non-negotiable in the digital commerce landscape. Businesses invest in user-friendly interfaces, responsive designs, and streamlined navigation to ensure that visitors can easily find products or services, complete transactions, and obtain necessary information.
Mobile optimization is an additional consideration, with the growing number of users accessing digital platforms via smartphones and tablets. A smooth UX fosters customer satisfaction, encourages repeat business, and bolsters brand loyalty.
In the interconnected world of digital commerce, businesses must seamlessly integrate their online and offline channels. An omnichannel approach ensures consistency across various touchpoints, be it websites, social media platforms, mobile apps, or physical stores.
Customers expect a unified experience, where interactions and transactions are fluid, regardless of the channel. Businesses leverage technology to synchronize inventory, customer data, and marketing efforts, delivering a cohesive experience that spans both virtual and physical spaces.
Data-driven decision making:
Data is the lifeblood of a successful digital commerce strategy. Businesses employ advanced analytics tools to gather, analyze, and interpret vast amounts of data. By tracking customer behavior, preferences, and purchasing patterns, businesses gain invaluable insights. These insights drive strategic decisions, enabling businesses to optimize marketing campaigns, refine product offerings, and enhance customer engagement. Data-driven decision-making empowers businesses to stay agile and respond swiftly to market trends and customer demands.
Security and trust:
Building trust in the digital realm is paramount. Businesses invest in robust cybersecurity measures to safeguard customer data, instilling confidence in their online transactions. Trustmarks, secure payment gateways, and transparent privacy policies reassure customers and reduce cart abandonment rates. Establishing a reputation for reliability and security fosters customer trust, encouraging long-term relationships and positive word-of-mouth referrals.
Continuous innovation and adaptation:
The digital landscape is constantly evolving, necessitating businesses to stay ahead of the curve. A successful digital commerce strategy embraces a culture of continuous innovation. Businesses experiment with emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, chatbots, virtual reality, and augmented reality to enhance customer experiences.
Moreover, they remain agile, adapting their strategies based on market trends, customer feedback, and technological advancements. In conclusion, a robust digital commerce strategy is not a static document but a dynamic blueprint that evolves in tandem with market dynamics and customer expectations.
By understanding their customers, delivering seamless user experiences, integrating omnichannel approaches, leveraging data-driven insights, ensuring security, and fostering a culture of innovation, businesses can craft a digital commerce strategy that propels them to unparalleled success. As businesses embark on their digital commerce journeys, these strategic pillars serve as guiding lights, illuminating the path toward sustainable growth and customer delight.
Digital commerce examples
To illustrate the transformative power of digital commerce, let’s delve into real-world examples where Sana’s solutions have catalyzed remarkable outcomes.
How Arizona Fireplaces unburdened their teams with digital commerce
Arizona Fireplaces, a distinguished provider of innovative fireplace solutions, faced significant hurdles in their quest for a successful e-commerce platform. Frustrated by integration issues and limited support from previous platforms, they sought a solution that would streamline operations, enhance customer experience, and seamlessly integrate with their existing systems.
- Fragmented Platforms: Initial attempts with WordPress led to confusion due to disconnected interfaces resembling an eBay store.
- Operational Chaos: Inaccurate data, accounting hassles, and communication gaps left the team overwhelmed and customers dissatisfied.
A game-changer for Arizona Fireplaces:
- Streamlined Operations: SCC integrated flawlessly with SAP Business One, ensuring real-time data synchronization and simplifying complex operations.
- Enhanced Customer Experience: Intuitive interface, smooth ordering process, and effective communication channels elevated customer engagement.
- Tailored Support: SCC’s dedicated team offered proactive, consultative, and organized assistance, ensuring Arizona Fireplaces’ unique needs were met.
- Operational Efficiency: SCC’s integration eliminated manual tasks, reducing workload and improving accuracy.
- Customer Satisfaction: Enhanced user experience and streamlined processes led to increased customer satisfaction and loyalty.
- Market Expansion: Empowered by SCC, Arizona Fireplaces diversified their offerings and explored new markets, driving business growth.
Arizona Fireplaces, now armed with SCC’s powerful tools and ongoing support, anticipates seizing emerging opportunities. Their success story exemplifies the transformative power of digital commerce, showcasing how businesses can thrive in the dynamic e-commerce landscape.
This case study illustrates how a robust digital commerce strategy, exemplified by SCC, not only resolves existing challenges but also propels businesses towards unparalleled growth. Through seamless integration, enhanced customer engagement, and operational efficiency, businesses can navigate the complexities of digital commerce and unlock unprecedented potential.
How PALFINGER leveraged complex processes with SCC
PALFINGER, the global leader in innovative crane and lifting solutions, faced challenges with an outdated ordering system that hindered customer satisfaction and internal efficiency. Embracing digitalization, they implemented Sana Commerce Cloud, revolutionizing their processes and enhancing customer experiences.
- Outdated Tools: Legacy ordering system lacked real-time data and limited product information for customers.
- Integration Complexity: Integrating a new software solution seamlessly with existing systems posed a significant challenge.
Empowering growth with Sana Commerce Cloud:
- Comprehensive E-Commerce: PALFINGER chose Sana Commerce Cloud for its seamless ERP integration and adaptability for both B2B and B2C needs.
- Real-Time Data Access: Enabled customers to effortlessly order spare parts with real-time information, enhancing transparency and convenience.
- Process Automation: Implemented an automated solution for managing their extensive catalogue of 100,000 spare parts, reducing manual effort.
- Enhanced Customer Experience: An internal survey revealed an 80% adoption rate and an 85% customer satisfaction rate, leading to a significant decline in customer service emails.
- Streamlined Operations: Real-time updates minimized manual efforts, speeding up spare parts ordering and ensuring accurate pricing.
- Increased Demand: User accounts nearly tripled since the web store’s launch, showcasing growing customer engagement.
With Sana Commerce, PALFINGER’s efficiency and customer satisfaction have soared. Positioned for future growth, they are launching two new web stores and exploring B2C opportunities with a searchable public webstore. The partnership with Sana Commerce exemplifies the importance of a collaborative business relationship, ensuring PALFINGER’s success in the ever-evolving digital landscape.
PALFINGER’s story highlights how embracing digital commerce not only resolves immediate challenges but also positions businesses for future success. Through innovative solutions like Sana Commerce Cloud, companies can elevate customer satisfaction, streamline operations, and achieve unparalleled growth, driving their industries forward.
Digital commerce trends to watch out for
As we step into 2023 and beyond, several trends are shaping the digital commerce landscape:
1. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML):
AI and ML algorithms are revolutionizing customer experiences by enabling personalized product recommendations, chatbots for instant customer support, and predictive analytics for demand forecasting.
2. Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR):
AR and VR technologies are transforming the way customers interact with products online. From virtual try-ons for clothing to interactive 3D models for products, these immersive experiences enhance customer engagement and boost sales.
3. Sustainability and ethical commerce:
Consumers are increasingly conscious of environmental impact and ethical practices. Businesses embracing sustainable practices and transparent supply chains are gaining a competitive edge, fostering brand loyalty among eco-conscious consumers.
4. Voice commerce:
With the rise of smart speakers and virtual assistants, voice commerce is becoming prevalent. Customers can now make purchases using voice commands, emphasizing the importance of optimizing digital platforms for voice search and commands.
In the dynamic landscape of digital commerce, staying ahead of the curve is not just a choice; it’s a necessity. For B2B product sellers, the key to thriving lies in embracing innovative solutions tailored to their unique needs.
By understanding the nuances of digital commerce, recognizing its transformative potential, and aligning with the emerging trends, businesses can pave the way for a future where digital commerce is not just a strategy but a way of business
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