Commerce complexity describes the overwhelming complexity of the commerce landscape, making it challenging to reach consumers, partners, or retailers with perfectly tailored product content and excellent customer experiences on whatever platform, marketplaces, or touchpoints they are on.
In-depth commerce complexity definition
Advertising, marketing, and selling products or services has become more and more complicated in our digital ecosystems. In today’s hyper-competitive market, sellers need to go omnichannel. They must be on Facebook, TikTok, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, Google Shopping, Amazon, Walmart, eBay, Wish, and Zalando. They need to be experimenting with next-gen innovations like NFTs, augmented reality fitting rooms, and the metaverse. And they need to do all 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 realistic, the hard truth is that most businesses need help just to keep up with their day-to-day operations, as manual tasks affect operational efficiency. This inability to manage complexity is where the meaning of commerce complexity comes from.
What are the causes of commerce complexity?
Both internal and external factors contribute to commerce complexity.
Internally, many businesses still rely on manual and siloed processes, largely due to outdated ecommerce technology. 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, often leading to inaccurate and inconsistent product information in listings and ads.
Externally, businesses face strict requirements from marketing and selling channels for product data quality. Channels like Amazon and Google Shopping constantly change their product feed specifications, so companies must 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 entirely different for tomorrow. Onboarding data to new channels, tailoring content to meet consumer expectations per channel, and ensuring consistent product information across all touchpoints have become nearly impossible.
How does commerce complexity affect businesses?
Commerce complexity leaves companies with little control over their product data within commerce ecosystems - online or offline. As a result, many businesses have had to accept the following consequences:
- Damage to the brand and customer loyalty
- Missed opportunities on new channels or marketplaces
- Slower time-to-market for new products or business models
- Inability to scale from current markets
- Failure to meet requirements and standards
What are examples of commerce complexity?
Commerce complexity is causing problems for all businesses that distribute, syndicate or onboard product content. Consider retail giants like Sears or Toys R Us, who declared bankruptcy after failing to keep up with the changing digital ecosystems and ecommerce trends.
Let’s look at a few examples of how commerce complexity affected some companies:
- 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 British pounds for displaying incorrect warning labels
- A New York airport restaurant was audited and fined for accidentally mispricing a Sam Adams beer for $28
How can you overcome commerce complexity and create new revenue streams?
To address the rising complexities that hamper product content distribution, companies need to take control over their entire product content journeys and steer these journeys with an effective P2C strategy and the latest P2C technologies.