Why cloud-native platforms are the future of digital commerce


Whether eCommerce businesses are B2C, B2B, DTC, or a combination of all three, they will need to prioritise a cloud-native approach in order to stay ahead of the competition.   
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Over the past decade, digital transformation journeys and moving systems ‘to the cloud’ has been a key agenda item for many organisations. However, because these legacy systems aren’t originally designed for the cloud, they don’t perform with as much speed and agility as cloud-native platforms – solutions that are built specifically for the cloud, in the cloud. Despite still benefiting from the scalability and ease of access that the cloud offers, businesses that run on legacy systems aren’t fully experiencing everything the cloud has to offer. Which is why organisations are now turning their attention toward cloud-native platforms, which provide a greater level of agility and scalability to power a truly digital business.

Cloud-native platforms are fast becoming the go-to option for new business projects. In fact, Gartner predicts that the majority (95%) of new digital initiatives will be cloud-native as early as 2025. Offering accelerated development capabilities, faster speed-to-market, and data-driven customer insights, cloud-native platforms are the key to driving further innovation in the eCommerce space.

Staying ahead of retail innovation

Salesforce’s State of the Connected Customer research found that 80% of customers say that the experience a company provides is just as important as its products and services. With the same report stating that 57% of customers have stopped buying from a company because a competitor provided a better experience. In a world where consumers demand 24/7 access to whatever they want, whenever they want, and delivered to their doorstep within a specific timeframe, there is simply no place for a slow and outdated online shopping experience. Instead, eCommerce businesses must be continually innovating and updating in order to meet the ever-changing needs of today’s consumers.

Cloud-native platforms give retailers and other digital commerce businesses the flexibility to be creative and test new ideas. Whether it’s enabling a ‘commerce everywhere’ strategy that allows customers to make purchases via social media, direct messaging, and even AI-powered voice commerce; adding payment options to provide a more frictionless payment experience and test consumer appetite to pay with digital currencies; or perhaps even testing digital storefronts in the metaverse. Because a cloud-native approach accelerates development capabilities and improves speed to market, businesses are able to more quickly and easily add new digital commerce offerings to stay one step ahead of emerging retail trends.

The power of first-party data

In an era where consumers are becoming increasingly concerned about data privacy, and tech giants like Apple and Google have announced plans to do away with third-party cookies, first-party data is becoming increasingly important for businesses. Rather than relying on customer data collected via third parties, first-party data simply refers to the insights a business is able to gather about its own customers – through its website traffic, purchase history, marketing emails, and social media interactions.

By utilising cloud-native solutions, such as Adobe Commerce Cloud or Adobe Experience Cloud, combined with included cloud hosting from Azure or AWS and a gamut of other cloud-native apps, retailers are able to create a connected, digital ecosystem that offers a 360 overview of the customer. As third party data eventually becomes obsolete, businesses must have a strategy in place to not only gather first-party data, but to be able to extract and analyse it in a meaningful way. Cloud-native solutions make it easier for businesses to collect rich customer insights that help to inform strategic business decisions. The rich insights gathered also help businesses better understand their customers, allowing them to better personalise customer experiences so they keep coming back, again and again. According to McKinsey research, almost three quarters (71%) of consumers now expect companies to deliver personalised interactions, and that personalisation helps to drive repeat engagement, ultimately improving customer lifetime value and loyalty.

It’s not just B2C retail

It has been well publicised that the pandemic resulted in consumers shopping online more than ever before. Australia Post’s 2022 eCommerce Industry Report shows Australians spent a record $62.3 billion in online sales 2021. But the demand for a digital, seamless shopping experience isn’t limited to traditional B2C eCommerce. Salesforce research shows that 82% of business buyers want the same shopping experience in business that they have in their personal lives; this includes expecting vendors to personalise engagement to their needs (72%) and providing an ‘Amazon like’ shopping experience (69%). Something cloud-native platforms are well placed to deliver.

Further, the recent growth of eCommerce has been so incredible that many organisations outside of traditional retail are looking at innovative ways to harness digital commerce strategies to increase revenue. From government agencies digitising their services and payment options, to education providers switching to online learning, right through to healthcare providers looking to digitise patient care and explore Direct To Consumer (DTC) sales.

In an increasingly competitive market, any business in the digital commerce space must be able to innovate quickly and easily. They must be working in an agile environment that is flexible enough to bend and change in response to shifting consumer demands, and they need a seamless overview of first-party customer insights, and the ability to create a more tailored customer experience. Whether eCommerce businesses are B2C, B2B, DTC, or a combination of all three, they will need to prioritise a cloud-native approach in order to stay ahead of the competition.   

James Horne is CEO of Balance Internet and a digital commerce innovator and thought leader with a passion for driving business success from digital commerce ecosystems. Find out more at Balance Internet