Digital commerce is growing at present and is expected to be the primary way products and services are bought and sold in the future. But what is digital commerce? Let’s begin by looking at a few definitions from companies that provide digital commerce solutions.
2Checkout says: “Also known as eCommerce, digital commerce is the buying and selling of goods and services using the Internet, mobile networks and commerce infrastructure.”
Gartner states: “Digital commerce enables customers to purchase goods and services through an interactive and self-service experience.”
Why Is Digital Commerce Important?
Digital commerce is here to stay, and it’s on its way to becoming the primary way many people make purchases. E-commerce is projected to make up 22% of total retail sales by 2023—up from 14.1% in 2019 and more than double the 2017 figure of 10.4%. COVID-19 may play a role in shopper’s decisions to go online, but that trend started well before the pandemic. Digital commerce offers convenience and other benefits that physical retail locations can’t, including 24/7 access and no traffic, parking, or crowds to contend with.
Many brick-and-mortar retail chains are closing multiple locations, while others are completely closing up shop. Most that are still doing business also sell their goods through their own websites. You may still open a brick-and-mortar shop today, but a digital commerce component is essential to every business. Many people browse in physical stores to get to know a product, especially if it’s an expensive item, but ultimately purchase it online.
The Rise of Cyber Monday
Black Friday, traditionally a bustling day for retail shopping and special deals after Thanksgiving, has been declining in popularity. It seems people are becoming less willing to wait outdoors for days to score a 50-inch OLED display TV for $50 than they once were.
Starting in 2005, Cyber Monday—the Monday following Thanksgiving—has grown in popularity and become a boon for digital commerce. The deals are equally as appealing as any offered on Black Friday, but there’s zero chance of getting trampled by overzealous bargain hunters, and there’s no need to camp out on cement sidewalks in inclement fall weather. Cyber Monday takes place entirely through retailers’ e-commerce sites.
Instant Product Delivery
The intangible nature of the internet has made possible the sale of intangible products. Of course, you can still order and pay for a couch, a fishing pole, or a pizza on the internet and have it delivered to your home. That’s not likely to change. But the internet itself has become the actual means of delivery for many purchases, such as entertainment media.
Music and movie purchases today are often in the form of downloads rather than physical media. (An exception, the vinyl LP has reemerged in retail stores after largely disappearing in the ‘90s.) Many people also have subscription services (Netflix, Prime, Hulu, Spotify, Apple Music, etc.) for these types of entertainment that enable them to watch or listen to whatever they want anytime, but they don’t actually own physical copies of the movies or music.
Paper gift certificates have been sold since at least the 1930s. In the 1990s, paper certificates gave way to gift cards, which were harder to copy, more durable in the wallet, and easier for a store clerk to use. If a paper gift certificate had a remaining balance, the clerk often had to create a new certificate reflecting the new balance, whereas modern clerks can simply swipe a gift card like a credit card and leave the remaining balance on the card. While tangible gift cards remain popular, the electronic version allows recipients to shop online using a code they receive through their email. An individual can receive a gift card from another individual who lives far away and use it—all within moments—through an online retailer equipped for digital commerce.
Who’s Driving Digital Commerce?
The growing popularity of digital commerce appears to be a generational phenomenon. Research has shown that 67% of millennials prefer to shop online compared to 56% of Gen Xers, 41% of baby boomers, and 28% of senior citizens. As the older population moves on, younger shoppers—largely millennials, for whom digital commerce has been a near-constant—will become the driving retail force, and their preference for online shopping isn’t likely to change. Shrewd businesses have prepared for this by expanding their digital commerce capabilities.
Our Digital Marketing Certificate Program
If you want to build a career in digital commerce, whether that means starting a career or furthering your existing career, education is a must. The University of Texas Permian Basin offers an undergraduate certificate in digital marketing online—naturally—through our AACSB-accredited College of Business. Our digital marketing certificate complements your business degree with specialized knowledge that will equip you to thrive in a career within the rapidly evolving digital landscape. You’ll learn:
- Differences between traditional and digital commerce.
- Google Analytics and other search engine optimization tools.
- Social media marketing tactics that can help you achieve organizational goals.
You can complete our 12-credit certificate program in tandem with any of our undergraduate bachelor’s degree programs. Each program course is dedicated to key aspects of digital commerce. Choose any four courses from the following:
- Digital Branding
- Digital Advertising
- Digital Marketing Analytics
- Social Media Marketing
Benefits of Our Online Format
Our flexible, 100% online digital marketing program features eight-week courses delivered in an asynchronous format. That means coursework is accessible anywhere, 24 hours per day. Complete your studies around any professional and personal responsibilities you may have—an advantage campus-based programs don’t offer. The future of your education, as with commerce, may be online.