An analysis of buying data from more than a billion customers worldwide shows that only 37% of companies are digital commerce leaders – organizations that excel in digital commerce and can attribute the overall success of the business to digital commerce. Salesforce surveyed 4,102 merchant leaders and analyzed the consumer and business buyer behavior of more than 1 billion customers worldwide.
Here are some of the key findings:
- Distributed and complex commerce is becoming the norm: 69% of digital leaders report having already invested in 69% new digital channels in the past two years.
- Actionable data drives personalized engagement: Digital leaders are 4.3x more confident in their ability to implement an artificial intelligence strategy compared to digital laggards.
- Companies renew focus on agility and profitability: 77% of organizations with a headless architecture say it enables 77% faster changes to storefronts.
Here are 15 powerful stats and takeaways from the State of Commerce Report:
- New channels are the key to digital success: In B2C, organizations are bridging the gap with services like Buy Online, Pickup In-Store (BOPIS): 85% report having BOPIS already or implementing it in the next two years. The same story is unfolding in the B2B world, where 69% of salespeople rely on digital channels as well as salespeople or third-party distributors to conduct business.
- Consumers communicate through a growing number of touchpoints: In B2C, consumers use an average of nine different touchpoints in their communication with companies. Digital leaders are leading the way in capitalizing on this trend, with 69% of leaders reporting having invested in new digital channels in the past two years. The channels with the biggest adoption gaps between digital leaders and digital laggards are marketplaces, mobile apps, and social media.
- Demand is growing for complex B2B online sales: While 31% of business sellers say that online channels generate more than half of all revenues today, 57% of digital leaders report that digital channels will provide more than half of all revenues in the next two years.
- Demand is growing for complex B2B online sales: Business sellers are planning a future focused on e-commerce. 97% of digital leaders and 91% of digital moderates expect buyers to place larger, more complex orders online in the next two years, compared to 62% of digital laggards.
- Regardless of the industry, digital commerce improves the customer experience: 91% of B2B buyers say a company’s purchasing experience is just as important as its products or services. The survey found that 33% of B2B sellers say launching their own marketplace is a priority in the next two years. And digital leaders are 1.5 times more likely to prioritize their own marketplaces compared to laggards.
- Companies focus on turning data into action: Digital leaders are 2.5 times more likely than laggards to feel prepared for changing privacy and data regulations. First-party customer data is critical to generating actionable insights. But access to this data is becoming increasingly difficult and the shift to a cookie-free internet has affected even the most data-literate organizations. Companies selling to consumers are more than six times more likely than laggards to feel the impact of the switch compared to companies targeting businesses.
- First-party data is a priority for digital commerce leaders: 36% of commercial organizations will invest in a first-party data strategy in the next two years. And 53% say they are very effective at using their data to understand customer behavior, a score 3.5 times higher than laggards. They are also four times more likely to use their data to provide personalized buying experiences.
- Digital leaders use AI to improve efficiency and personalization: Digital leaders are more than four times more likely to be effective at automating processes than laggards, seven times more likely to report excelling at digital commerce, and four times more likely to report that they are prepared to take data in. their entire organization. They are also more than four times more likely to think they can implement an AI strategy effectively.
- Post-purchase experiences drive loyalty and satisfaction: When choosing between brands, 54% of business buyers and 51% of consumers prioritize convenience. Optimizing the entire fulfillment journey will be a focus for many organizations over the next two years, with 44% of executives saying it will be a priority. Digital leaders are 1.3 times more likely than laggards to prioritize fulfillment optimization. Flexible returns are important: 42% of consumer sellers say their returns policy includes a self-service option.
- The customer experience is just as important as the products and services: 90% of business buyers and 84% of consumers expect consistent experiences across all touchpoints. Businesses streamline service: Nearly half (47%) already have commerce embedded in customer service. Digital leaders are leading the way, with 49% of leaders selling through their customer service centers, compared to 40% of laggards.
- Companies renew focus on agility and profitability: Digital commerce also makes selling faster. 39% of digital leaders, 52% of digital moderates and 46% of laggards reported at least a 10% faster time to close. Digital Commerce Boosts Sales Productivity — Companies investing in digital commerce say it benefits their sales force. While 64% of all B2B sellers report that digital commerce increases sales force productivity, digital moderates and laggards report this benefit the most (70% and 60%, respectively). Digital commerce also appears to improve employee and customer experiences. 75% of digital leaders say digital commerce has improved customer satisfaction.
- Digital commerce improves the health of the entire business ecosystem: Companies selling to third-party distributors report even greater customer success when using digital commerce: 65% of organizations selling through distributors report that digital commerce has improved customer satisfaction. Companies that sell through distributors report that digital commerce has improved contract management (58%) faster than organizations that don’t (49%).
- New digital payment options are growing: Today’s customers expect more options at checkout than cash or credit card. Organizations prioritize investments in flexibility. PayPal accounted for 80% of all mobile wallet transactions in Q1 2022. The number of payment types is also growing as 64% of businesses already offer at least one mobile wallet option. Security is a top priority — 54% of digital leaders say fraud is a concern when implementing a new payment offering.
- Crypto is gaining adoption as a means of payment: Today, only 30% of organizations offer crypto as a payment option at checkout. This makes it the least likely payment option on offer. However, that is quickly changing. Crypto is the most reported payment method in which organizations will invest in the next two years compared to all other forms of payment. And leaders are 2.5 times more likely than laggards to invest.
- Headless commerce gains momentum: The survey found that 34% of organizations say it takes weeks or months to make changes to their digital storefront. To enable digital agility, many companies are turning to headless architecture. Headless decouples the digital front-end from the back-end, giving companies the freedom to build to their own specifications. Companies with a headless architecture are more likely to expand to new channels (77%) quickly than non-headless companies (54%). Headless implementers cite several benefits: they report excelling in digital commerce more (55%) than non-headless organizations (30%). They are also more likely to attribute the overall success of their business to digital commerce (58%) than to non-headless organizations (37%). Headless architecture is poised for growth: 80% of companies that don’t have a headless architecture today say they plan to implement it in the next two years.
The State of Commerce report is quite comprehensive and highlights key technologies, market trends, digital capabilities of organizations and future investments in innovation. To learn more about the future of commerce, visit this interactive data dashboard here.