Listen, my children, and ye shall hear – that the new commerce systems of record are here! Okay, maybe the arrival of new ways of tracking eCommerce customers isn’t quite as important as the advance of the British in 1775, but it’s still a pretty big deal for those of us in the industry. The old “One if by land, and two if by sea” adage is now being translated into more complete accountability for all the numbers, no matter what they represent or where they come from. Accountability requires control, which can be difficult to exert over lots of disparate systems.
Since Paul Revere’s days, we have accumulated scores more potential places to monitor for activity than just land or sea. These days, our customers might find out about us and our offerings from various channel partners, affiliates, social media, mobile search, and much more – or, they might arrive by a combination of any of these sources. Think about it – Facebook owns Oculus VR, Apple has introduced its new Watch and Pay systems, and Google’s giving us Glass on our faces (if we can afford it), we have many more new channels where people can interact with our content and, ultimately, make purchases.
A proliferation of channels means that we also need new ways to track and evaluate user interactions across our existing channels, brand new channels, and any others that may continue to surface. Of course, there are already many systems for tracking customers and their orders, plus any related information. However, as customer relationship management systems intersect with BPM, ERP, and myriad other systems, they can create a complex mishmash of numbers and channels that’s hard to keep track of and even harder to analyze.
As these systems, devices, channels, and options for users all multiply in response to a proliferation of new purchasing options, successful commerce will require a whole new system of record – one that can account for data from any customer touchpoint, in any format. This kind of nuanced tracking can’t be properly achieved with several siloed systems, nor with a cumbersome hodgepodge that links only certain parts of each system. Companies need a consolidated way to monitor and control variables for optimal outcomes.
Enter the commerce system of record – a completely centralized yet streamlined system that incorporates all of the data that companies need in order to understand who’s buying from them, when that person interacts with what information, and how to best prompt a purchase. The commerce system of record not only enables companies to track this information, but also change variables to influence customer behavior. Being proactive in influencing customers is a key differentiator of successful companies.
If it’s hard to understand how big the commerce system of record is, think back to Paul Revere’s lantern. Every house used to make its own light through lanterns like these. Now, we have one centralized electrical system that makes power available anytime we need it. The electrical system also has the ability to track and regulate electricity usage to anticipate and respond to expected surges – like in hot weather. That’s exactly what we need for commerce – a system that can deliver the right insights for each department, on demand, illuminating our choices and empowering us to act on the latest information.
Individual companies don’t have to have a VP of Gas and Electricity today, because all of those elements are taken care of for them, invisibly, behind the scenes. A Director of Commerce can be the person who unites multiple channels to create an information flow that guides monetization initiatives across every department. This type of centralized approach can save lots of headaches and potentially boost business, reducing the need for individual vigilance and creating a standardized system of record that allows faster time to market with customer initiatives.
With a commerce system of record, we don’t need to be as vigilant as Paul Revere, because we can rely on having a steady stream of customers, and the right tools to respond to them.