Commerce is increasingly happening wherever consumers are spending their time.
Effortless commerce was already emerging as the next thing in retail, but the trend really accelerated over the past 12 months when online shopping broke records, especially in the categories considered essential, like online grocery sales, which grew more than 79% in 2020, according to ONS.
The combination of consumer expectations to shop whenever and wherever they wanted to with time-pushed buyers looking for frictionless shopping journeys, means consumer choice has increasingly followed the path of least resistance.
The idea of effortless consumption — or the growing expectation for convenient shopping experiences — was also a key finding in Linnworks recent survey of 1,000 shoppers. The main takeaway from this research is that consumers want seamless, connected shopping experiences, and convenience is the key priority for most shoppers when choosing a retailer.
So what does this mean for retailers looking to grow, or even be competitive? It means that brands need to be everywhere their customers want to shop. At Linnworks, we call this Total Commerce — the ability to be in the selling channels where your customers are.
The first step is to create a frictionless experience and deliver an omnichannel experience through your selling channels, so your customers can create a shopping journey based on their needs. For example, the option to buy online and collect in store, or offer a range of payment or shipping options at checkout so your customers can choose the elements of their transaction journey that are most convenient to them for that purchase.
But Total Commerce means staying fully connected to your customers. It means taking your selling strategy to a complete multichannel retailing strategy, where your brand is in multiple commerce environments. These environments can include marketplaces, social commerce and any other emerging selling platforms. Rather than expecting your customers to seek you out, you need to be present in the channels which they operate day to day.
Effortless consumption and delivering Total Commerce presents two key challenges for retailers:
First, constantly being connected to your customers by accessing multiple commerce environments at the same time requires specialized capability and knowledge. You need to understand what your customers want in each of these channels and how to serve their needs.
Second, continuously adapting and controlling commerce in all of these environments simultaneously, is complex, costly and technically challenging. To maintain and manage all of your selling channels with their individual logistical requirements is essential to maintaining overall control over your commerce operations. Running inventory management, order management and shipping operations efficiently is key to not only having the right product in the right place at the right time, but also to maintaining your customer experience and capturing every selling opportunity.
The key to successfully implementing Total Commerce is integrating your commerce technologies and multiple selling channels into a single selling and operations platform like Linnworks. The ability to have full visibility and control by connecting your major carriers and fulfillment services, alongside your own technology stack, lets you sync your operations across all selling channels. Automation of tasks across the logistics process, and complete visibility over business information is essential for demand planning and stock management to ensure maximum profitability.
The effortless economy and evolution of selling platforms offers a huge opportunity for brands and retailers to grow. To achieve growth, brands must commit to a Total Commerce approach both in selling strategy and across operations to ensure you win the sale, every time.