From a digital perspective, eCommerce revolves around the technique of how the client sells products utilizing the eChannel – not only the technology behind how it sells. While the technology is important from an online measurement standpoint, understanding which method the business feels as important is key. I break eCommerce into three categories:
- Brick and Mortar Extension (BME)
- Pure Play
- Direct-to-Consumer (DTC)
Brick and Mortar Extension (BME)
Brick and Mortar Extension is the act of driving customers to a physical location to purchase product or service.
Many people have challenged me that this isn’t eCommerce. Although I agree that BME isn’t true eCommerce, I have clients that can’t do the other two methods listed below based upon their business models (i.e. large items that don’t work well for DTC or Brick-and-mortar only businesses like restaurants or auto mechanics). BME allows for a level of eCommerce classification for this type of client.
BME traditionally manifests itself through technology solutions such as store locators that use ZIP codes to identify the closest store or through promotions used to drive foot traffic like coupons or gift certificates.
Pure Play is driving customers to another online location to purchase the product or service. This could either be another vendor or to a company-run storefront through the likes of eBay, Yahoo, or Amazon.
Pure Play clients tend to be small to medium sized businesses that don’t have the desire or internal resources to process the orders. Also, there are large expenses involved in building a DTC-enabled website and organization. Pure Play allows for a faster time-to-market at lower cost.
Direct To Consumer (DTC)
DTC is directly selling the products or services through your website. From a scaling perspective within a company, DTC is a very complex endeavor. You must have plans around Merchandising, Marketing, Fulfillment, and Operations/Financials. I have seen many companies go under by ignoring one or more of those items.