The changes in the way of acting, buying and consuming of the human being since March 2020, when the global coronavirus epidemic broke out, have captured impressive data. The latest quarterly report Salesforce Shopping Index showed that trade on-line in Spain it had a growth of 14% during the third quarter of 2021, three points above the global average, compared to the same period of the previous year. Worldwide, sales on-line in the last Christmas campaign they exceeded one billion dollars.
Many point to the covid-19 pandemic as the main reason for the spectacular development of electronic commerce. Although this situation has been a catalyst or an accelerator of a process, experts assure that the conditions for this growth to take place already existed for some time before. E-commerce only needed a little boost to become a real explosion. “The conditions were given by the development of technologies that facilitated online interactions and personalization of the user experience,” says Enrique Mazón, vice president of Commerce Cloud at Salesforce Iberia. “Thus, artificial intelligence, data analysis and the combination of modern marketing solutions with platforms of e-commerce have allowed many organizations to successfully cope with the spectacular growth we have experienced”.
One of the most important trends that we have seen consolidate in recent months is the so-called ‘click & collect’, which has spread enormously throughout the world, including in Spain
Enrique Mazón, Vice President of Commerce Cloud at Salesforce Iberia
Those organizations that built the foundations of their online platforms with these advanced technologies (which, of course, are based on cloud solutions) were able to withstand the rush of purchases on-line. “Those that did not anticipate and continued to rely on older platforms had serious problems, particularly scalability problems to deal with peaks in demand such as the cyberweek or the Christmas campaigns”, explains Mazón. In other words, his main concern was not how to provide better customer service or how to overcome logistical distribution problems, but whether his servers would continue to function.
But once this period of abrupt growth is over, there are a series of trends that will mark the future development of electronic commerce and sales in general.
● Integration of physical and digital channels
He knows in depth all the sides of the coin.
According to experts, physical commerce is not going to disappear, because it is a great complement to electronic commerce. In fact, today it is no longer possible to speak of the physical channel or the on-line Like two separate worlds. Today the correct vision is to speak of a consumer who is going to interact with the business through any channel, and it is convenient to be prepared to deal with that consumer interaction in their preferred channel.
The physical store is in full transformation. During the pandemic we have seen how physical store employees were dedicated, for example, to advising customers through a digital channel and models that were transformed to be able to serve orders from physical stores on-line. “In fact, one of the most important trends that we have seen consolidate in recent months is the so-called click&collect (customer buys on-line, but pick up at the store), which has spread enormously throughout the world, also in Spain”, confirms Mazón. It is a cheaper, more sustainable formula that also favors increased sales by taking advantage of the customer’s visit to the physical store.
Apart from this integration of the physical with the digital, specialists consider it essential that e-commerce platforms are integrated with other business applications such as marketing or after-sales service. This is the only way to achieve a complete omnichannel experience for users.
● Development of ‘e-commerce’ in B2B environments
B2B electronic commerce (commercial transactions between companies) is one of the clearest growth opportunities for companies. Just as as consumers we have seen that marketing in digital channels is very convenient, professional buyers are also realizing these advantages. Logically, the purchase process is totally different; As a professional, large volumes are purchased, with a price policy negotiated based on the volume of purchase, with different forms of payment. “The key to the development of this model is the integration of the platform of e-commerce with the company’s CRM, the software that enables effective management of the relationship with each client”, explains Enrique Mazón.
● Social or group purchase
The situation of wanting to make a purchase with a group of family or friends is common and, to be honest, nowadays it is not a very enriching experience. In general, the platforms e-commerce they are designed to serve users one by one. Take, for example, the purchase of a trip for a vacation. Ideally, several users, over a period of time, share the same purchase process and even benefit from some additional discounts – the same for the whole group – while they search and decide which trip they are going to buy.
Communication between the various buyers is usually done through social networks. In this sense, Salesforce can offer a differential value, since we have the Slack collaborative work platform. “This solution can be integrated into the e-commerce of any company, facilitating social shopping on the site itself”, says Mazón.
● Modular or ‘composable’ platforms
One of the great challenges that organizations face is that of flexibility and agility to adapt to changes. The reality is that digital channels are proliferating and are increasingly diverse, so companies must equip themselves with a technological platform that allows changes and adaptations quickly.
Traditionally, customers assembled platforms of e-commerce in which the front end (the applications that end customers see and use) and the back end (the technologies behind the portals to make them work) were fully integrated. This has the disadvantage of having to make very large and expensive technological developments to adapt, for example, to new channels of interaction with customers.
In Salesforce, the development of a technology (called headless) that allows to separate in different layers the front end and the back end. “In this way, it is much easier to change components of the portal, even its entire appearance, or incorporate new functionalities without having to rethink the entire system. This is what we call a platform composable”, Mazon account.
There are many other elements that will be part of the innovation in the world of retail in the coming months and years. “In our next Shopper First event -reveals Mazón- we will also analyze the main trends in the hands of industry specialists”.
Ultimately, companies in the retail who want to be ahead of the curve and ready for the next big disruption (be it a pandemic or a technological breakthrough) need to be where their consumer wants to be. And with technology, the next sale is always just a click away.
An appointment in Madrid with the superpowers of ‘e-commerce’
The next 6 of April e-commerce trends will be discussed in Madrid in an event entitled Shopper first. It will take place at the Hotel Novotel Madrid Center (Calle de O’Donnell, 53), and it will be an overflight worth Superheros to enjoy an overview of all the innovations in e-commerce. will participate James Simple, Director of Product Management at Salesforce, and Claudio Cavacini, Director of Strategy and Industrial Solutions for the company’s retail market. From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., in a tone and language taken from the universe of comics, the program will help to identify the superpowers that are needed and to evolve those that the interested party already has in order to take their customers’ experience “to infinity”, sell more and interact with them in a totally personalized way, wherever they are. Places are limited.