Ecommerce versus e-commerce versus digital commerce

Call it Digital Commerce anyway

Ecommerce is the act of selling through a website. Digitally. The problem these days is that the lines have blurred. Is BOPIS ecommerce? What about Starbucks’ digital app? If you’re standing in a store using a screen to buy, what is that? And finally, Amazon is looking to roll out it’s walk-out technology which makes stores somewhat digital. Here’s what I think:

· If you still write e-commerce with the dash, stop reading my site and go away. I think I stopped doing that after the dot com crash.

· As the lines blur, you end up doing mental gymnastics to separate retail from ecommerce from mobile from social.

· Digital commerce makes way more sense to me, but of course no one uses this term (see the Google trends graph).

Digital has become the dominate method of shopping in many categories even if it doesn’t always collect the most dollars. Catalogs slowly transformed to become a funnel to an ecommerce site. Retail is now also moving in that direction: create a retail brand and then drive traffic to a mobile site or app. Our ecosystems are cracking into microsites or microfunctionality that is spread across social, apps, and other platforms. And I think the headless commerce push is going to make this even more complicated. At this point, it’s almost impossible to create a clean line between brick and mortar and digital – if you can at your company, then you need to ramp up creativity and testing. It is time to blend commerce across digital, physical and even the metaverse.

So here’s my strong vote for calling it Digital Commerce. Or just commerce. Your website is just one place where customers can place their order. It’s an access point to your backend systems that can deliver what customers actually want. But you need to be selling them across a million different fractured ecosystems in order to get that order. More and more I believe commerce is going to move onto the social networks and away from our controlled web experiences.

So I’m voting for digital commerce as the umbrella term that encapsulates ecommerce, apps, digital marketing, DTC and even B2B. Yes, I include BOPIS in there.

PS: Please stop using the damn dash

Jay Allen
Digital believer. Started an ecommerce website in 1997 and been focusing on digital marketing ever since. B2C, DTC, B2B, I've done it all from building campaigns and up.
Atlanta, GA