In a world where big players like Amazon dominate in terms of price, fulfilment, and audience share – it’s becoming increasingly difficult for commerce companies to differentiate themselves.

According to Econsultancy’s ‘Reinventing Commerce’ report, in association with Sitecore, the answer to this problem lies in a superior digital experience – and one that is worth repeating.

Naturally of course, this isn’t an easy task.

So, what are the biggest roadblocks commerce companies are facing when it comes to building relevant relationships with customers? You can find much more in this in the full report (download it here), but here are a few key takeaways to consider.

Understanding changing consumer behaviour

Econsultancy and Sitecore’s research – based on a study of over 1,200 merchandising, ecommerce, and marketing executives in retail – found that, globally, 61% of executives describe their business model as being under “significant” or “extreme” pressure to adapt to changing conditions. This is even more critical for some, with 34% saying that “market pressures are such that our model has to change or we may go out of business in the next 36 months.”

One of the biggest causes of this market disruption is changing consumer behaviour. As a result, companies are under more extreme pressure to draw on sufficient first-party data to monitor individual needs and shifts in customer behaviour.

However, it seems many are struggling with a lack of capabilities, with 65% of global respondents reporting that they don’t have enough customer data to fully understand the customer journey.

On top of this, there are also issues with companies collating quality data, as well as having the correct tools or analyst resources to interpret it.  Across global respondents, only 31% report a high level of trust in their marketing data.

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Delivering content across the customer journey

Content is seen as another key differentiator for brands, with over 80% of global respondents saying that “relevant content is what gets customers to come back.” What’s more – highlighting the shift towards customer focused strategies – over 75% of executives go one step further and say that “content is the strategic key to growing customer lifetime value.”

There are challenges when it comes to producing and managing content, however, which is preventing companies from properly reaching and engaging consumers at every step of their journey.

Half of global respondents say that their organisation finds it difficult to adequately address the volume of content needed across multiple personas and products. Unsurprisingly, internal structures often do not help, with over 40% reporting that content workflow, production, and approvals are a challenge.

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Amazon: competition or opportunity?

The likes of Amazon, Alibaba, and other macro players continually redefine the experience expected by consumers. This is largely related to convenience, with delivery and returns being a key driver for loyalty.

Interestingly, these businesses also act as both potential partners and competition for others within the ecommerce space, and it seems many are torn between how they view them.

Econsultancy’s survey found that 47% of respondents consider the top tier ecommerce players to be a significant opportunity for growth, while 46% are just as concerned about working with them.

Despite the aforementioned challenges – with over 80% of respondents saying that “success as an ecommerce business depends on the ability to create compelling customer experiences” – it is all to play for.

Amazon reinventing commerce

For more information, take part in the Reinventing Commerce : Econsultancy and Sitecore webinar on June 13th