E-commerce 3.0 should be defined as a fully connected and integrated e-commerce CRM-marketing-service-analytics-POS platform that has its own private environment of customer data and opens the playing field to small-to-medium businesses (SMBs), according to Mikel Lindsaar, CEO and Founder of StoreConnect.
The need for online storeowners to maximize their valuable time and compete against the big stores is more urgent than ever with U.S. e-commerce sales expected to exceed $1 trillion for the first time this year. Previously, they were not forecasted to reach this milestone until 2024.(1) In 2021, the number of small businesses in the US alone reached 32.5 million, making up nearly all (99.9 percent) of US businesses.(2) Globally, COVID-19 increased online retail sales’ share of total retail sales from 16% to 19% in 2020.(3) However, according to comprehensive market research by Mikel Lindsaar, CEO and Founder of StoreConnect, small to medium business owners have been wasting too much time and too much money in maintaining their e-commerce websites, connecting systems, fidgeting with logistics and not enough time growing their business.
“I wanted to build an e-commerce solution that respects the valuable time of our clients enabling their growth while giving ‘David’ the tools to compete with the likes of ‘Goliath’.”
Introducing e-commerce 3.0
Just like the web has gone through stages of Web 1.0, then 2.0, and now 3.0, e-commerce has followed a similar path.
- Web 1.0: the formation of the Internet as we know it.
- Web 2.0: adding dynamic websites that became systems and applications within themselves. This stage also included the consolidation of knowledge of the user into corporations of data, like Facebook, Google, Amazon and others, yet the subsequent loss of privacy with consumers’ private data being the “product.”
- Web 3.0: Is now moving into a distributed model with a goal to return to individuals their own privacy.
For e-commerce, 3.0 was accelerated into existence by the catalyst of COVID. Last year saw annual retail e-commerce sales pass $4.9 trillion worldwide, and online sales are predicted to grow to more than $5.5 trillion by the end of 2022.(4) In 2021, there were anywhere between 12 to 24 million online shops, with more than 2.1 million online retail stores in the US in 2021.(5)
- E-commerce 1.0 was created and ushered in via the likes of Amazon shopping, popularizing the idea that you could make purchases without having to visit a store. This created a titanic shift within the retail industry causing some retail stores to shut down and move online.
- E-commerce 2.0 has been typified by anybody being able to get online to sell. This has created giants in the industry, such as Shopify and others, which have made it simple for anyone to create an e-commerce store nearly instantly.
This stage however also included the consolidation of customer data, buying habits, search histories, targeted advertising knowledge and the loss of privacy as corporate giants started slurping up as much information as they could about each consumer, creating bio profiles and attempting to target ads more across their entire network.
For consumers, shopping and using the internet these days has become a balancing act of giving enough information to get what you need, while feeling that every decision you make gets recorded and held in massive, consolidated data stores.
For merchants, part of the e-commerce 2.0 experience has been creating multiple interconnected systems and somehow keeping all of the systems talking to each other in order to deliver a full experience to shoppers.
The status quo is that e-commerce 2.0 solutions often require 5, 6 or 7 different connected systems that somehow need to talk to each other to provide e-commerce point of sale, customer service, marketing solutions, CRM, internal sales, product management, pricing management, stock management, shipping management, etc. while keeping all of the systems in sync and talking to each other. A near-impossible feat.
“The status quo has become an expensive nightmare for big brands,” says Lindsaar. “But for SMBs, it is has been a growing and exorbitant time and expense factor that has been keeping them out of the market and unable to reach their full potential.”
E-commerce 3.0 is a new idea and consists of two major thoughts.
- The first is that an e-commerce 3.0 system integrates all of the above systems into one solution. Instead of having five, six, or seven, or more systems attempting to keep in synchronization, you have one e-commerce 3.0 system that provides all of the above solutions via the one application. Your e-commerce website, your corporate website, your point of sale, your marketing solutions, price, product, infantry, shipping management, digital asset management and customer service solutions all being run from a single platform that does not require constant monitoring and support in order to keep its data in sync.
- The second thought of e-commerce 3.0 is to create, for each retailer, their own private environment of customer data, in essence breaking up the customer-data monopolies. The information you share with each merchant is private to that merchant and not shared with other merchants. E-commerce 3.0 allows each individual merchant their own analytics system and customer-knowledge system without needing to rely on global enterprise companies who provide “free“ analytics solutions in exchange for all of your customer data.
Just like Web 3.0, e-commerce 3.0 is distributing the web back to individual merchants and providing the smaller merchants with the ability to take on the big merchants; actually giving “David” the ability to take on “Goliath.”
The way to change the SMB landscape with one single stroke
Simple: Take the most popular and most widely used sales program—Salesforce—and help online storeowners focus on growing their business, not on the technicalities of their website. StoreConnect is an e-commerce AppExchange package created exclusively for Salesforce. It provides SMBs with a single CRM-based e-commerce solution that saves them time and money.
The disruption of the SMB market is ongoing, as more businesses seek ways to eliminate bloat in staffing and resources, as well as more easily manage their assets. Previously, SMBs had struggled to maintain and afford an e-commerce venture, mainly because they had to have staff working these areas—and a hefty tech stack.
With 86% of digital commerce leaders reporting that digital commerce will be their most important route to market over the next two years, the pent-up demand from the SMB e-commerce market to find a solution was strong.(6)
In fact, Salesforce itself recognized the outstanding work that StoreConnect demonstrated within the e-commerce sector, as well as their clear excellence in innovation on the Salesforce platform. As a result, StoreConnect was announced the winner of the Salesforce International Partner Innovation Award for Retail, by showcasing outstanding leadership within the Salesforce ecosystem, an award, only previously awarded to multi-million and multi-billion dollar enterprises with the resources to use Salesforce to such an innovative capacity.
StoreConnect, being the new disruptor startup on the Salesforce block, allows one SMB client to run dozens of separate store fronts all with different designs, currencies, products, pricing, content and languages, all on the one StoreConnect / Salesforce license combination.
“We have a very powerful multi-store solution for SMBs,” Lindsaar concludes. “And we are focused on spending the time of our customers as carefully as we spend our own—Time. Well Spent.”
Mikel Lindsaar, CEO and Founder of StoreConnect, is an experienced technology entrepreneur whose mission is to infuse small- and medium-sized businesses with the power to be successful in e-commerce and grow to the Nth degree. Small businesses can’t waste time setting up their business on a platform only to repeat the process by changing platforms when they want to scale, nor do they want to waste time figuring out how to integrate multiple platforms. StoreConnect (built on the World’s Number 1 CRM, Salesforce) gives clients a complete, powerful, configurable e-commerce and CRM solution where they can manage their website, online and in-store sales, provide amazing customer service, run all their digital marketing campaigns and have up-to-date detailed metrics, reporting and full understanding of their customer. They were awarded Salesforce’s 2021 International Partner Innovation Award of the year for the Retail sector and are changing the ease with which small businesses are run—with a manageable price tag. StoreConnect is Time. Well Spent. Visit https://getstoreconnect.com/
- Phaneuf|, Alicia; “Ecommerce Statistics: Industry benchmarks & growth”; Insider Intelligence; January 08, 2022; insiderintelligence.com/insights/ecommerce-industry-statistics/.
- “How Many Small Businesses Are There in the US in 2022?”; Oberlo; Accessed April 12, 2022; oberlo.com/statistics/number-of-small-business-in-the-us.
- “Global e-commerce jumps to $26.7 trillion, COVID-19 boosts online sales”; United Nations Conference on Trade and Development; May 3, 2021; unctad.org/news/global-e-commerce-jumps-267-trillion-covid-19-boosts-online-sales.
- Barber, Robin; “Online Shopping Statistics & Trends in 2022”; Cloudwards; March 18, 2022; cloudwards.net/online-shopping-statistics/.
- “How Many Online Stores Are There in 2021?”; Digital In The Round; July 17, 2021; digitalintheround.com/how-many-online-stores-are-there/.
“The State of Digital Commerce”; Gartner; Accessed April 12, 2022; gartner.com/en/marketing/research/state-of-digital-commerce-sem-digcomm?