The news about Amazon’s “Dash” is a bold statement of omni-channel commerce – literally – creating commerce channels out of everyday objects like a magnet you stick on your fridge or washing machine.
You could argue that marketing has been omni-channel for many years, but what has been lacking are direct commerce call-to-actions. This is changing. Facebook has announced “Shop Now” call-to-action buttons for business News Feeds. Twitter has been experimenting with “Buy” buttons since last year. Google and Pinterest are both rumored to be working on Buy call-to-actions for direct purchases, expected to release sometime this year.
With the entry of these large players’ new offerings, we are witnessing a convergence of omni-channel marketing and omni-channel commerce. But what does this mean for merchants – other than having exciting opportunities to combine marketing with direct commerce?
Consider a few implications:
1. Measurable benefits for the omni-channel, digital marketer: theoretically higher conversions and measurable, attributable ROI from marketing initiatives.
2. More pressure to breakdown traditional silos between ecommerce, digital marketing, ad/media marketing and social marketing. This is critical because the convergence of marketing and commerce will require collaboration and coordination to capitalize on these new opportunities.
3. A merchant’s control of its commerce touch points becomes as distributed as its marketing touch points as several of the ad/media players seem to be setting up their own payment processing and ecommerce experiences instead of redirecting to the merchant’s own ecommerce site. This potential proliferation of “microcommerce” experiences poses interesting operational questions – ranging from marketing resource management to fulfillment integration to data ownership and financial settlement. Tech players and merchants alike will need playbooks to effectively operationalize these new channels beyond initial launch.
Side note: Amazon, with Dash and any other future omni-channel commerce offerings, is uniquely well positioned to conquer these challenges, if and when Amazon chooses to open it up to merchants. Amazon’s support for third-party merchant order fulfillment has been in place for nearly a decade! I was lucky enough to work on the Beta release in 2006.
4. Let’s hope these new offerings include commerce data feeds for merchants and do not require merchants to log into yet another dashboard to review results. Assuming this, an agile data management system will become even more essential for merchants as they tie the ecosystem together on the back end. Integrating data feeds from new commerce channels with their additional transactional and purchaser data cannot be an afterthought if merchants want to quickly optimize results.
Do you agree? What other implications do you see?
Jessica Milan leads the Solution Delivery team at CashStar, a provider of omni-channel prepaid commerce solutions. She has over 10 years of technical consulting, project delivery, and partner enablement experience across digital marketing, ecommerce, and manufacturing/supply chain. Before CashStar, Jessica held management/lead positions at Neolane (now part of Adobe’s Marketing Cloud), aPriori Technologies, and Amazon.com.