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Digital Commerce

The flexible hybrid will triumph

Commerce is advancing at a breathtaking speed, and the process keeps on accelerating. Today’s customers expect their needs to be met instantaneously – regardless of where and how they procure their goods. And suppliers are struggling to meet the challenges.

In this game the customers have much greater power than the retailers: at the end of the day the price is more important to buyer than loyalty to a specific retailer or a particular industry.

Competition is increasing. New strategies are needed.

Retrailers need to measure up to the giants in the industry: Amazon and Walmart, and ensure that they compete on pricing and speed.

These industry champions are expanding – in both directions. Amazon, which is actually a digital retailer, is increasing its business done through stores, whilst Walmart, who turns over more business in store than any other company world-wide, is now striving to reproduce its success in the digital world of e-commerce.

To handle these challenges, retailers are looking for comprehensive strategies to provide a digitally and physically positive customer experience across all channels. Local branches are part of this omni-commerce strategy – they offer added support services and self-service options and complement service offerings with an online presence.

Online shopping is not everything – flexibility and consistency are

Experience with e-commerce shows that online shopping is not the be-all and end-all. Many online successes are part of a hybrid solution, where, for example, many online purchases can be collected from a local store.

The probability is high that a customer visits a local store after having been on the retailers website. It is common for a customer to want to determine the course of events and speed of the purchasing process, as well as deciding what device to use and where contact is made with the retailer. This strategy requires flexibility and consistency on the part of the supplier – and this is where experience with omni-commerce provides a valuable advantage.

The consumer wants both worlds without any disruption

Interactions Consumer Experience Marketing, a market research organization, published a study in 2014 on the purchasing behaviours of the US American consumer, that buys both online and in store. It showed that showrooming (in store research done before making on online purchase), is still popular, but also indicated that webrooming is increasing (the online research undertaken, before purchasing in store). Consumers are everywhere and that’s where they expect retailers to be.  

To remain successful suppliers need to ensure their customers have positive, and wherever possible, seamless and consistent experiences every step of the way: pre purchase, during the sale and during any contact with the call center or sales personnel. That also goes for any other activity involved in a sale such as returns, repairs, replacement parts, maintenance, guarantee work or any other service or support.

Whether or not the customer registers an experience as being a positive one and remembers the supplier, and perhaps recommends the supplier, depends on three fundamental elements:

Quality of the Interaction

The format and quality of the interaction between supplier and customer. What is the customer’s perception of the interaction?

Enhancement vs Added Value

Do customers gain any added value immediately—if so, what? Or do customers see right away that the collected data is unrelated to the current business transactions?


With all the information gathered from a customer’s buying behaviour—how well does a supplier succeed in positively surprising a customer?








Alistair MacDonald

Managing Partner ConVista Consulting Ltd

+44 115 853 2887