When you create a strategy for your e-commerce business, and the main goal is to provide a seamless customer experience, I believe there are some key areas you need to consider. By doing so, you will be able to increase your chances of creating a Unified Commerce strategy that enables customers to shop on their own terms.
Using this checklist provides you with an ideal opportunity to approach your e-commerce strategy from both your customers’ and your company's perspective. Here is the checklist in four steps:
- Start with a vision. I recommend that you start with a vision. Where do you want to be in the future? This vision should be attractive, and reachable. A really good vision also includes a purpose for the company. It could also include figures that motivate your vision. These can be numbers or other measurements such as customer satisfaction index, a beneficial direction, etc. Your vision will benefit from being “visualized”, and it is also wise to include the benefits for your customers. I believe you should include the right stakeholders at this stage and get them involved when it comes to working on the vision. And last but not least; anchor the vision with your top management. As e-commerce is the core strategy for many companies and it affects many parts of an organisation, this should not be too difficult.
- Perform an As-Is analysis. In order to know where you’re going, a good start is an As-Is analysis. Tools you can use for this include the SWOT model (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats), covering current position and where you want to be (Vision). You can also use the PEST model (Political, Economic, Socio-Cultural, and Technological) to analyse your status quo. It’s important to understand the situation concerning your legacy system. Therefore you need to map out the existing system flora and what the key integrations are since these will be an important foundation in the next phase. This is also important as it helps you understand what's working well and what’s not and why.
- Conduct a Unified Commerce analysis. When you carry out your Unified Commerce analysis, there're certain areas you should check off your list – or make sure that you have under control. However, these areas consist of different opportunities, functionalities, complexity, channel integrations, and the need for system support and more. Unified Commerce is all about providing an optimized shopping experience across all touch-points and contacts with the customer. Therefore every area should end up with identified activities, functionalities, definitions of how to fulfill customer needs, or likewise. This allows you to estimate, prioritize, and budget what to do in the next. I recommend going through this list when conducting your Unified Commerce analysis:
- Product information management
- Order management
- Customer relationship management
- User experience
- Digital marketing
- Digital Inn-store
- Point of sales
- Analytics / analysis
- Customer service
- Cross channels
- Requirement gathering & analysis
- Build the business case. An important part of your Unified Commerce strategy involves building a business case. What are the benefits, opportunities and the value of the proposed strategy and activities? How can you measure success? How can you make the case and what does it cost in the short and long term? And what resources are needed? When it comes to a Unified Commerce strategy you can benefit from thinking about it as a program and in terms of a roadmap where you need to do things in a certain order. You may, for example, need to think about infrastructure for certain areas before you can take the next step. This is common when it comes to a more extensive strategy that has a major impact on the organisation. Depending on how complex your strategy is to implement, you will be able to choose between different models. You can use tools such as a/an: effect model, cost-benefit analysis, ROI (return on investment), business impact analysis, business model canvas, business case priority model, and more. You can also include measurement methods such as a customer satisfaction index, an employee satisfaction index, internal efficiency, and more.
I wish you the best of luck with your Unified Commerce strategy. If you are interested in more information on how to be successful with a Unified Commerce strategy you can download our white paper on this topic where all these areas are covered in more depth.