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SMBs are Using Customer Commerce as a Path to Reconnect with Customers

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The time has long passed when we viewed online commerce as a bit player in the larger economy. Year after year, the percentage of business done online has grown.

According to recent statistics from Forbes – 28% of all business is done online in the USA. Worldwide, the figure is around 18%.

However, not everyone is happy with this state of affairs – in fact, neither businesses nor consumers think the online world is perfect.

Customers want a connected experience, but they rarely find it. They expect everyone in an organization to have their details on hand, but this is rarely the case. They expect a seamless process from purchase to fulfillment, and again this is rarely delivered.

Small and medium businesses (SMBs) on the other hand, are struggling under the weight of the workload and resources they have to throw at their e-commerce systems, whilst rising inflation and interest rates are ratcheting up the pressure on the bottom line.

The average rate of return for e-commerce purchases is 20-30%, and with many organizations offering free returns and other incentives to attract customers, there is even more pressure on profit margins.

In America 21% of online orders, worth some $218 bn, were returned in 2021, according to the National Retail Federation.

This is the reality that SMBs operate in, and many of these structural factors and customer demands are unlikely to change.

However, there is one area in which SMBs can take back control, and that is in a new category of online business strategy called Customer Commerce.

E-commerce as we know it is in a death spiral because it has been operating in a ‘patchwork’ and ‘band-aid’ approach. Growth has been so fast that new plug-ins, apps and Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions are constantly being developed to handle issue after issue or gap after gap in a reactive manner.

This has resulted in companies having to deploy multiple – sometimes over a hundred – different SaaS solutions, in order to serve their customers.

Yet systems are disconnected, and customers don’t like it. They are abandoning shopping carts at a rate of more than 70%. Yet, 88% say they would purchase again from a company where the experience was good.

The path is clear for businesses – provide a seamless experience, and you will win loyal customers. Loyal customers mean higher profits.

Repeat customers are also more profitable. It is well known that attracting a new customer can cost 8-10x more than retaining an existing customer, due to higher marketing costs.

Customer Commerce is a path to seamless experiences as these solutions offer a single source of truth about the customer, allowing organizations to actually serve the customer and to know the customer. Built on one platform with the customer at the center, they provide all the required systems to manage the whole experience from start to finish. Customer Commerce allows a company to have multiple stores, in multiple languages and to support flexible payment options, customer-focused offers and much more.

Customers love this, and they will be more loyal as a result. A loyal customer, who knows the company, and can engage on their own terms, is far less likely to abandon a purchase.

The State of the Connected Customer Report from Salesforce shows us that providing this outcome for customers is going to be beneficial for SMBs:

– 88% of customers say good customer service makes them more likely to purchase again.

– Nearly half of customers — including three-fifths of millennials — are willing to pay extra for better customer service

Whilst there are massive benefits in terms of customer loyalty, there are also benefits on the bottom line from cost savings.

With multiple SaaS systems that don’t communicate with each other, there is an enormous cost burden on small business owners who have to invest in people to get the computers to talk to each other. SMBs have limited resources in terms of time and money, and being able to redeploy staff into customer service or other high-value activities or even reduce headcount can have a positive effect on operational costs.

There can even be cost benefits in reducing the monthly subscription costs of multiple SaaS systems.

In short, the savvy owners of some of the 33 million SMBs in the USA are now looking towards Customer Commerce as the next evolution of their online business strategy.

Like customers have been abandoning carts, SMB owners are abandoning the old way of doing e-commerce and moving to Customer Commerce as the solution to scalability, affordability, and streamlining of their operation.

When this allows you to provide a seamless experience to any customer, anytime, anywhere, the promise of fulfilling the goals of your SMB and helping customers at the same time, is within reach.

About the author


Mikel Lindsaar

Mikel Lindsaar, CEO and founder of StoreConnect, is an experienced technology entrepreneur whose mission is to infuse small and medium-sized businesses with the power to implement a successful Customer Commerce strategy whilst scaling to meet growing demand.
StoreConnect were awarded Salesforce's 2021 International Partner Innovation Award of the year for the Retail sector and are changing the ease with which small businesses are run ─ with a manageable price tag.