For a while now R “Ray” Wang, CEO and Principal Analyst at Constellation Research, has been discussing what he calls matrix commerce, a shift in business focus from the transaction to the engagement process. Here’s how he describes it in a recent research report:
Matrix commerce describes the processes, technologies and business models emerging at the intersection of omni-channel distribution, payment technologies, demand signals, supply chains, frictionless enablers and Big Data to deliver on a buyer’s expectations. Matrix commerce addresses the emerging complexity of meeting perfect orders in a buyer-centric world. Internal organizational silos of yesteryear must be broken down and re-integrated in order to deliver a seamless buyer experience.
The shift can be seen in two recent news announcements. Wang cited matrix commerce Monday when he tweeted out the news that PayPal is extending its payment service to brick and mortar stores. It’s also one reason why NetSuite bought Retail Anywhere.
Matrix commerce is tightly connected to one of his favorite topics, “the perfect order,” which he describes in the same report.
The answer to creating the perfect order, in Wang’s view, is matrix commerce -- a buyer-centric approach. It provides:
- An omnichannel approach that provides the same experience across all channels
- Payment options that allow customers to use digital wallets, point of sale systems and barter networks
- Demand signals, structured and unstructured data to predict and meet demand
- Supply chains that offer logistics, inventory management and distribution network configuration that align with the buyer’s needs
- Frictionless enablers that get buyers to conversion as seamlessly as possible, removing sale barriers, and
- Big data, to power the analytics and decision making of matrix commerce.
“Achieving perfect orders remains more important than ever as the buyer experience shifts from managing transactions to improving engagement and crafting buyer interactions and experiences,” Wang writes. He adds, “As a result, the ability to transact in any language, use any currency and support any business model is just as important as engagement strategies that focus on cross-channel interactions.”
PayPal’s entry into brick and mortar stores suggests it’s buying into the concept.
So too is NetSuite, which has preaching the importance of omnichannel commerce, and took its efforts to a new level with the addition of Retail Anywhere and its POS system, not to mention a long history with supply chains and inventory management.
Of course, shifting focus from the transaction to the buyer experience takes a lot more than just software; it requires some significant process improvement and a reevaluation of priorities. So how do you get there? Wang offers a list of 10 steps in his report, but it starts and ends with listening, he says.
“Be sure to listen to your customers and refine your strategy based on their feedback,” Wang writes. “Make the necessary changes that customers want, or be left behind.”
-Barney Beal, Content Director/Editor at NetSuite