Note: although I know of at least 2 large eCommerce retailers who claim to manage their site content via their merchandising system, which only updates product and category information but still needs a fleet of developers to make HTML-based changes to their homepage, landing pages and anything else you would generally classify under the term content.
If you want proof of this, just look at the recent demise of the mobile retailer Phones4u in the UK. As the mobile phone operators have gotten more grown-up with their online selling and customer management propositions, then their need for an intermediate who takes commission and attempts to own the customer becomes less and less. In short, by having a mature online commerce and account management service, companies can now seriously consider or reconsider dis-intermediation in fast moving markets.
A digital platform should therefore have a host of features (shopping carts, integration to payment services, discounts & offers functionality and ‘my account’ database functionality, etc.) to enable your business to quickly allow your customers to self-serve.
- Deliver segmented marketing emails to a set of subscribed users?
- Send alerts to customers that they have left something in their shopping basket (and that they should jolly well come back to the site and buy it before someone else does or it is no longer available)?
- Send out SMS messages to those who want or need it (think how useful those text messages about that flight you booked for next week are and how they don’t need you to have a modern 4G data connection to look them up).
- Work out which of your customers are Tweeting and confirm what product they actually bought online from you?