How to Design a Connected Commerce Strategy

In the age of digital living “connected life” has taken hold. Connected life is the evolution of digital access and utility transforming how users obtain information and engage with each other and businesses.  It adds personalization, flexibility, and creates convenience and ease in their lives. What’s more, “connected life” has changed consumer behavior and caused a shift in how businesses conduct commerce.

In 2017 internet users spent a daily average of 6 hours using digital media across all devices. As consumers spend more time online they are also engaging companies on more channels: brick and mortar, social, web, mobile, and more. And they’re inclined to transact on these channels more often than ever before.

As businesses take note, they’re figuring out how to change their strategy from e-commerce to connected commerce to evolve with the changes.

What is Connected commerce? and why does it matter?

Connected commerce is the seamless experience of payment transactions on any online or offline channel. It is the process of transforming channels into payment gateways to make it easy for people to transact payments. Nielsen calls this “buying without borders.”

Opening up new channels as payment gateways may, at first glance, seem invasive or redundant. But it actually creates ease and convenience for your consumers when you meet them where they are. From a business perspective, it creates additional opportunities for increased transactions.

designing a connected commerce strategy

If you are wondering what it takes to transform your business’s commerce strategy, remember a few simple steps before getting started.

Audit your current commerce strategy

Conduct an audit to assess the current commerce strategy and identify where there are gaps. This should give you a pretty good idea of what needs improvement, how to improve, and which parts of the current commerce strategy may not be conducive to a connected commerce strategy.

assess customer influence

Pay attention to your customers’ influence on the current commerce strategy. Figure out how to build that iteration into the new connected strategy. These insights can help start with key information that will help you implement a connected commerce strategy without affecting existing business.

LAY THE GROUNDWORK with data

Start with your customer data. Analyze their purchase behavior and trends. What channels are they more apt to transact on? Mobile apps? The web? By phone? On social? Where do they spend more? You can start with your own data, but also tracking broader consumer trends can reveal the direction commerce is headed. Studying what lies ahead can help you design a connected commerce strategy that will scale, grow and adapt to future changes.

define technology requirements

There’s no shortage of options to establish new payment gateways. Modern payment technologies like Stripe, however, have made it relatively easy to set up payment gateways on nearly any channel. The most important part is doing a technology assessment to understand how to integrate new commerce channels into the technology and business ecosystem.

Build in-house or outsource?

It depends. Designing and implementing a connected commerce strategy requires buy-in from the C-suite who are traditionally reticent to adopt new ideologies and innovative technologies. If you decide to roll out the new commerce strategy with in-house talent, consider the time and budget demands to move the project forward. There are resources that can help provide the technical teams needed to implement new technologies.

If you opt to outsource, consider working with trusted technology partners that are invested in the success of this initiative. They can help you get the most out of the investment and transition. Also, technology partners can provided strategic advice on why, the how, and the what for designing, developing, and  implementing the new commerce strategy.

Remain data-driven to measure success and discover growth opportunites

Collect user feedback and other data to continue iterating and improving your new connected commerce strategy. As with most transformation efforts, the data holds the intelligence that show what’s working and what needs optimization. Plus defining and tracking success metrics will uncover opportunities for more growth.

Sustained growth and success for retailers and other organizations alike will be about creating strategic advantages across merged channels, meaningful customer touch points, and a fine-tuned and intentional user experience throughout the customer experience. This is relevant for developing organizations and established organizations making the change to connected commerce.

Connecting Commerce for a 100 year old organization

 Lions Clubs International is a 100 year-old service organization that helps communities thrive. We partnered with them to build out new digital strategies to recruit new members. We built their MyLion app to engage a younger demographic of members, and enable non-digital natives to expand their networks of service. A second-development of the mobile app was to transform it into a new donations channel. As a non-profit organization that depends on donations and membership, adding payment capabilities to their mobile app created new pathways to conversions. From the client side, members had a new mobile way to continue supporting their communities, recruiting a younger generation of members, and supporting the mission of the organization.

Conclusion

Lions Clubs International is one example of organizations that are taking measures to transform their commerce strategy to one that is connected. It is virtually impossible to ignore connected life. Business of all types are striving to create ease and convenience for their users. And establishing a connected commerce strategy is part of that effort.

Meeting customers where they are saves time, reduces barriers to conversion, and makes for an overall better customer experience.

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