Commerce anarchy describes the overwhelming complexity of the commerce landscape that makes reaching consumers and driving sales extremely difficult for today’s businesses.
In-depth commerce anarchy definition
The process of advertising, marketing, and selling products or services has become endlessly complicated in today’s commerce world. For instance, businesses need to maintain a physical presence and offer in-person experiential shopping opportunities, while at the same time manage ecommerce operations globally. They need to be on Facebook, TikTok, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, Google Shopping, Amazon, Walmart, eBay, Wish, and/or Zalando. They need to be experimenting with next-gen innovations like NFTs, augmented reality fitting rooms, and the metaverse. And they need to be doing all of this while providing a high-quality, unified customer experience at every touch point. It’s a laundry list that even the major players have trouble keeping up with.
While these commerce opportunities should be exciting avenues for growth, the hard truth is that most businesses aren’t equipped to keep up with their day-to-day operations, let alone think about market advantages. This inability to manage complexity is where the meaning of commerce anarchy comes from.
What causes commerce anarchy?
Both internal and external factors play a role in commerce anarchy.
Internally, a lot of businesses are still relying on manual and siloed processes, largely due to outdated tech stacks. Most companies have spent years adopting individual technologies to address each part of the commerce ecosystem, such as product information management, digital asset management, enterprise resource planning, etc. As a result, they’re now left with Frankenstein tech stacks, using multiple systems that don’t integrate well together. Managing product data and commerce processes across different systems provides low visibility of the overall operations, which often leads to inaccurate and inconsistent product information in listings and ads.
Externally, businesses face strict requirements from marketing and selling channels for the quality of their product data. Channels like Amazon and Google Shopping are constantly changing their product feed specifications, which means companies need to continuously monitor and update their feeds to meet compliance. Additionally, the speed at which new channels enter the market is at an all-time high. Where customers are shopping today might look completely different to tomorrow. Onboarding data to new channels, tailoring content to meet consumer expectations per channel, and ensuring product information is consistent across all touchpoints has become nearly impossible.
How does commerce anarchy affect businesses?
Commerce anarchy leaves companies with little to no control over their product data within the commerce ecosystem. As a result, they struggle with the following consequences:
- Damage to the brand and customer loyalty
- Missed sales
- Slower time-to-market
- Inability to scale
- Failure to meet compliance
What are examples of commerce anarchy?
Unfortunately, there are far too many examples of companies that have fallen to commerce anarchy. Take legendary retail corporations like Sears or Toys R Us who used to rule the commerce market and have since declared bankruptcy.
Let’s look at a few specific examples of what commerce anarchy looks like in the day-to-day commerce exchanges between businesses and consumers.
- A $300,000 Bored Ape NFT sold for $3,000 because of a misplaced decimal point
- Sporting goods retailer Decathlon was fined £1.2 million over incorrect warning labels
- A New York airport restaurant was audited and fined for accidentally mispricing a Sam Adams beer for $28
How do you overcome commerce anarchy?
To address the rising complexity of doing commerce business, companies need to gain control over their product information value chains. They can achieve this with product-to-consumer (P2C) management.