By Alexandra Lawson, director of growth at Balance
In the ever-changing world of digital commerce, it’s crucial for business leaders to keep their finger on the pulse. By spotting emerging trends and investing in the right tech, you can stay ahead of the game and boost revenue from digital commerce channels. Let’s dive into a few noteworthy digital commerce trends for 2024, what’s behind these shifts, and practical strategies to kickstart your growth.
Multi-brand commerce platforms
As demand for integrated solutions that streamline business operations grows, multi-brand commerce platforms are emerging as a way to share common infrastructure and resources. Instead of juggling multiple ecosystems, businesses can now function within a single, cohesive platform. This approach empowers them to implement initiatives like personalisation and AI solutions seamlessly across multiple brands, providing customers with a unified journey through various brand experiences.
Scalable technology stacks
A scalable technology stack allows your business to grow while maintaining performance and reliability. Establish a technology stack that can adapt as your business expands, focusing on technologies that are crucial for your business and meet the needs of key customers. Opt for solutions that can manage higher levels of traffic and data requirements while allowing for smooth integration into your broader digital environment. Make sure to continually enhance your infrastructure’s performance through load testing, performance testing, and ongoing monitoring.
In the realm of customer service, AI can be effective in enhancing analysis for routing, optimising agent workflows, and intercepting simple requests that would otherwise go to sales agents. Leveraging AI solutions like chatbots and virtual assistants can prevent customer frustration and attrition by responding to inquiries and directing them to self-help resources. Research from Zendesk found that 67% of brands expect to boost spending on AI bots, with half of the respondents committing to a 25% increase in budget. As your capabilities mature, explore more advanced AI functionalities, for example predicting customer needs while they shop onsite.
Effectively utilising first-party data
Unlocking success demands overcoming the challenge of scattered data. Research from Adobe shows numerous brands grapple with disparate data sources, hindering their grasp of customer intent. To overcome this, embracing a first-party data strategy is imperative. Leverage directly acquired data to ensure accurate and up-to-date insights, deciphering customer intent through transactional and action-based data. This will empower precise data-driven decisions, refine business processes, elevate the customer experience, and propel sustained growth.
Creative commerce means going beyond transactions to craft immersive experiences. As the lines between online and real-world activities blur, embrace innovative storytelling to forge connections beyond sales. To thrive, brands must foster cross-departmental collaboration and infuse a creative ethos into their product and service offerings. Understanding the customer use case for creative commerce and bringing commerce forward in a traditional buying journey is crucial, ensuring that every touchpoint aligns with the brand’s overarching strategy. Start by cultivating a creative environment in your business for brainstorming and creativity—work on generating fresh ideas and ingenious solutions that bridge the gap between physical and virtual worlds.
Fostering connection and community
Consumers are increasingly yearning for real-life connections and communities, with research underscoring the fact that customers forge stronger bonds with brands that offer a sense of community. For digital commerce, this shift highlights the growing importance of establishing emotional connections with customers and cultivating communities. Building these communities becomes the cornerstone of long-term brand loyalty, with emotionally engaged customers demonstrating significantly higher lifetime value. Today, loyalty and community programs have become a prevalent strategy, with over 90% of companies adopting them. The most successful among them can even realise annual revenue increases of up to 25%. Start by leveraging data insights to segment your audience and deploy highly targeted campaigns. Develop programs tailored to distinct groups to bolster retention and advocacy.
While some of these trends may already be deeply ingrained within your organisational culture, others may appear uncharted territory. The decision of when and how to integrate these trends should be guided by your organisation’s distinct business objectives and its current level of digital maturity. By embracing the right initiatives, you not only work to safeguard your business but also invest in its adaptability in the years ahead.
Top image: Alexandra Lawson