with John and Anya
Episode 11, March 1, 2022
E-commerce started more than twenty years ago, but it’s just now reaching the New Homes industry. To create a great omnichannel online shopping journey, we must build an e-commerce ecosystem. Some parts can be upgraded, but many parts have to replaced and re-built. We’ll review the two critical roadblocks: static content and channels.
Today we’re talking about creating an eCommerce ecosystem. eCommerce stands for electronic commerce, and it refers to all the online activity that involves buying and selling products and services online. Why is eCommerce so important? By 2040 95% of all purchases will be transacted online.
eCommerce which used to be dedicated to a single channel-for example Amazon, is now proliferated through multiple channels including social media, where user can not only see a product, but they can also buy it. This is driving into a new category of commerce-prolific headless commerce meaning it’s no longer dedicated to a single channel. This requires a new platform-headless content management system (CMS) which takes content and distributes it to multiple channels and presents it in a way that customers expect in that particular channel. This transforms eCommerce into eCommerce ecosystem. We can no longer just do eCommerce for websites because consumers expect to shop on multiple channels.
Prior to eCommerce sales and marketing were two separate functions. Marketing was responsible for attracting the audience and sales was responsible for engaging, nurturing, and converting the leads. Pre-eCommerce, buyer was dependent on a builder salesperson to buy a home. In the eCommerce world, the power goes to the buyer, and they can complete all the steps independently online with their virtual shopping cart using their personalized MyHome website App.
There are three ingredients to eCommerce. It needs interactive content, interactive channels, and online customers. The critical ingredient is the marketing channels because they connect customers to content. Content has exploded over the last twenty years and customers are already online, but what’s missing are the channels. Current static websites are like flip phones versus interactive App websites which are like smartphones.
Channels are critical to engagement in an eCommerce sales funnel. Generic, static website channel requires offline sales assistance. Personal, interactive, omnichannel Apps enable immediate online content engagement and ability to purchase.
Millennials are the largest living generation and largest segment of new home buyers, and they represent the most digital buyers (60% of Millennials make purchases online). They depend on ratings and reviews-99.9% of them read reviews online compared to 63% when shopping in a store. And most of them are on social media, so we must address this segment of a population in the way they shop to survive in the eCommerce world.
The final ingredient is the content. It needs to be customizable, personalized, experienceable and transaction-able.
In the eCommerce world, the marketplace will be the new top of the funnel, because it can attract more customers and offers a better customer experience and functionality versus static generic websites. Personalization and experiential marketing facilitates engagement across synced channels via cross-channel personal MyHome virtual shopping carts of favorite designs. Predictive marketing provides recommendation as shoppers interact with channel content.
Marketing automation utilizes trigger events to curate and drive leads down personal sales funnels and shopping journeys 24/7. Builders needs to be able to see the backend of customer behavior so as shoppers choose lots, personalize floorplans and select options, marketing automation can create trigger events with personalized re-marketing campaigns or personal touch points.
Convergence of MarTech, PropTech and FinTech enables financial transaction and digital purchase contracts online.
eCommerce ecosystem is only as strong as the weakest link. Our weakest link are the channels. Our industry needs a marketplace where channel capabilities have been built out without the need for home builders to spend millions of dollars on developing their own. Marketing has done as much as they could-providing content, but they cannot build, sustain and innovate a technology platform.
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We welcome everyone – whether you are a customer, competitor, partner or just interested in our New Homes industry. We hope that together, we can enlighten ourselves, strengthen our relationships, grow our industry and better service our customers.