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Why every business needs an embedded commerce strategy

Michael Affronti Profile picture for user Michael Affronti July 25, 2023
Summary:
Retail led the way on e-commerce - Salesforce's Michael Affronti urges businesses across other industries to embrace a digital commerce strategy.

ecommerce concept online shopping © metamorworks - Canva.com
(© metamorworks - Canva.com)

In today’s uncertain economy, the reigning mantra is, 'Do more with less'. Companies across every industry are looking for ways to increase revenue while reducing costs.

To meet these twin imperatives, retailers have been using embedded commerce, inserting purchasing experiences directly into websites, apps and other engagement channels so customers can quickly buy a product or make a payment on whichever channel they're shopping, to boost revenue efficiently.

Now, it's time for companies across the spectrum — from consumer brands to B2B businesses to manufacturers — to embrace an embedded commerce strategy, ensuring their customers can make purchases on the spot, quickly and seamlessly.

The rise of embedded commerce

In today’s market landscape, businesses of all stripes are looking to digital commerce as a way to boost the bottom line. The pandemic accelerated the transition to growing digital channels; now, 60% of customer interactions take place online. The divide between B2B and B2C commerce is disappearing, with 57% of digital leaders in the B2B space saying they expect at least half of their revenue to come from digital channels in the next two years.

Established ecommerce players want to add subscriptions to boost recurring revenue or build customer loyalty to gain first-party data. Manufacturers want to free up time for reps by selling directly to consumers or standing up self-service ecommerce portals. Retailers want deeply personalized experiences and recommendations across all customer touchpoints. And everyone wants to keep a lid on costs.

Against this backdrop, in recent years, retailers have pioneered an embedded commerce model. Instead of being limited to a traditional digital storefront, customers can buy products wherever they come across a brand — perusing social media, clicking an ad, getting a quote, chatting with customer service or leaving a product review. Instead of relying on an independent service to power those purchases, companies with the right technology can process them using the same underlying catalog, inventory, fulfillment, and order management infrastructure. By creating more opportunities for customers to make purchases and removing friction, embedded commerce is a powerful and efficient way to increase revenue and improve customer experiences.

Why other industries should embrace this model

Even if their customers are not buying on TikTok or Instagram, vast opportunities exist to enable transactions wherever customers interact with a company — through an ad, email, service engagement, or self-service portal. Embedded commerce means that customers don’t have to jump through hoops to get what they need and can engage seamlessly with a brand. That buyer-centric perspective leads to higher conversion rates, more revenue, and happier customers — a recipe for efficient growth for businesses of all stripes.

Every industry — whether B2C or B2B — has the potential to tap the promise of embedded commerce, at each point in the customer journey. Here are just a few examples:

  • Many manufacturers want to sell directly to institutions and consumers, rivaling the B2C experience. Embedded commerce can make the purchase process simple and delightful for their customers. For instance, based on past buying patterns, a furniture maker can email a client a link to a customized, self-service reorder portal that allows payment with Apple Pay. Embedding the transaction within a sales interaction makes for a smoother experience than sending an email, issuing a purchase order, and having the customer provide payment details.
  • A company selling routers and modems often receives service queries about broken equipment. Directly in the service chat, agents can share a link to a pop-up website that allows customers to reorder and pay securely. Customers get the full commerce experience without leaving the service interaction.
  • Healthcare companies want to make it as easy as possible for customers to buy needed equipment, medicine, and insurance. For example, a medical device company selling glucose monitors can offer its users a subscription service for test strips so that they always have a supply on hand.

A pathway to efficient growth

Innovating around digital commerce will be key to how today’s businesses grow and thrive. When companies adopt an embedded commerce model, it’s important to look for a commerce platform that easily integrates data from different sources as well as with other sales and service technology. A single source of truth across all channels is key in order to drive personalization and a consistent experience. And of course, all interactions should take place on a foundation of trust and consent. When done right, embedded commerce is a strategy that any company can use to bring in revenue without inflating budgets.

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