Omnichannel commerce is the new playground for brand success! In this article, I will discuss how e-commerce and retail have evolved and how, post-pandemic, these two sides of distribution will couple in order to create new ways of shopping.
By Dario Calamandrei
Head of Marketing and Sales
23 June 2021
Covid’s effects on retail distribution and e-commerce
In the past years, we’ve largely debated about the e-commerce race to reach traditional retail. Despite grocery stores’ resilience during the pandemic period, there are certain retail sectors -such as fashion, tech, beauty, and leisure, who have long suffered e-commerce’s threat- that have had coup de grace. Let’s take the example of the Italian fashion retail industry: Italian Fashion Federation Confcommercio registered an overall loss of over 30% in 2020, the definitive closure of 20.000 fashion stores (out of 115.000 shops), and an impact on employment for over -50.000 out of the 310.000 employees. A post-apocalypse scenario. On the other hand, during the pandemic, e-commerce fashion sales almost doubled their share, reaching 30% of the total, according to The State of Fashion 2021 - McKinsey & Company.
Need for change
Covid-19 through the closure or downsizing of physical activities has urged retailers to seek new ways of selling and connecting with consumers. At the heart of this transformation, digital will play a pivotal role: in just a few months, the barriers to innovation that had been resisting for years have fallen in all retail organizations. Seamlessly the IT offer has been able to convert and adapt to the new market needs by creating tools ready for the future of commerce, a future where the digital and physical will merge into a new approach to sales.
Future of commerce: omnichannel
In order to understand the meaning of the word “omnichannel”, we have to remember its predecessors: single-channel commerce (where you only sell through either physical stores or online) and multichannel commerce (where you sell both through physical stores and online at the same time). Omnichannel takes distribution one step further by connecting all sales channels seamlessly. Nowadays consumers are way more focused on the buying experience and what comes with it. Omnichannel commerce centers on things like: click and collect, buy online and return in-store or vice versa, try in-store and buy online, customize or purchase in-store through totem, purchase through voice assistant devices or through wearable devices, in-app notifications, chat, rewards programs, and many many more. This is what the future of commerce will look like and whether you like it or not, consumers are demanding new overwhelming experiences in which the physical and the digital worlds merge together.
Technology for omnichannel sales
Being said that IT will play a central role in this commerce revolution, let’s see now what are the technologies in favor of the transition to omnichannel commerce. When talking about platforms it’s important to choose the right stack in order to invest in future-proof applications. The main idea of an omnichannel strategy is having as many touchpoints as possible with the consumer in its buying journey, therefore the technology we should adopt should be as flexible as possible in order to be displayed on multiple devices. A headless e-commerce platform responds perfectly to those needs as it guarantees separation between the commerce functionalities (backend) and their presentation layer (frontend). See graph:
The pandemic has forever changed the way we shop. Technology will play a central role in the future of commerce and the most reputable brands have already intercepted the revolution by investing heavily in omnichannel strategies. We strongly believe that headless solutions for e-commerce are the best and most future-proof infrastructures.
Early on its launch, we partnered with Commerce Layer, a unique and fast-growing headless commerce platform, as we understood the importance of offering a new approach to traditional e-commerces that have been struggling with monolithic architectures.
For more information or if you wish to talk about a project feel free to contact us.
Head of Marketing and Sales
After a few years spent in consulting, Dario joined Extendi with the goal of boosting its market development. He is passionate about economics, sports, and music. He is an avid listener of Alain de Botton's and Rory Sutherland's talks.
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