(Image credit/Pixabay/Tumisu) Zoho announced its new, comprehensive omni-channel platform, Commerce Plus. Built on top of Zoho One, the operating system for business, Commerce Plus is a fully integrated, end-to-end platform for the commerce vertical. From sales to fulfilment to customer loyalty, Commerce Plus leverages Zoho’s customer experience, finance, analytics, and intelligence software. The platform provides businesses an interconnected, first-of-its-kind commerce experience platform.

(Image credit/LinkedIn/Jordan Jewel)
Jordan Jewell, Research Manager, Digital Commerce and Enterprise Applications at IDC

The digital commerce landscape is extremely competitive for organisations looking to successfully sell online. Constant innovation and superior customer experience are prerequisites to success,” said Jordan Jewell, Research Manager, Digital Commerce and Enterprise Applications at IDC.

Zoho’s new Commerce Plus product offers a unique approach to commerce. It offers native integrations with both front and back-office applications. This better equips customers to achieve omni-channel commerce operations,” he added.The company expects its emerging markets to become the largest sources of growth over the next five years.

Comprehensive omni-channel Platform

For businesses looking to set up an omni-channel, online store, Commerce Plus offers quick ways to construct an online presence. By offering built-in templates, the platform allows users to quickly digitise their commerce business with minimal effort.

  • Commerce Plus allows users to sell across channels. Businesses can sell online through their own e-commerce store, third-party marketplaces, brick-and-mortar storefronts, or other channels.
  • The Commerce Plus platform helps businesses maintain a single inventory of items sold across multiple channels. Whether a business sells though its online store or third-party marketplaces like Amazon, Ebay, or Etsy, Commerce Plus offers a unified inventory system.

Personalised commerce experience

The Commerce Plus platform is integrated with Zoho’s Customer Experience platform. This enables businesses to offer a personalised experience to every visitor by combining information across customer touch points.

  • With each visitor/customer taking a different path. Commerce Plus enables businesses to build customised journeys based on the customer’s stage in the process. For example, Commerce Plus has built-in journeys for visitors with abandoned carts. Journeys can be created and personalised based on information available across the platform.
  • Omni-channel customer communication is available as part of the customer experience. The platform enables context-aware dialogue with prospects and customers. Customer information flows across multiple communication channels including email, chat, phone, and more-marketing. Consequently, sales and support representatives have a unified view and context of each customer and can deliver consistent, cohesive experience.

Efficient back-end operations

  • Commerce Plus gives the customer access to the entire back office environment. This includes, order management, fulfilment tools, shipping, labels, notifications, inventory management, warehouse management, and more are included out-of-the-box.
  • The platform is integrated with more than 40 global shipping providers, enabling businesses to create shipping labels directly from software. Items can be shipped from either a single location or multiple warehouses, making the process seamless.
  • All sales orders, purchases, expenses, and other transactions, including deposits to business bank accounts, are integrated with Zoho’s accounting system. Zoho claims this is a first-of-its-kind, comprehensive integration between an accounting system and an omni-channel commerce system.

Analytics for commerce

  • Zoho Analytics offers several pre-built dashboards and reports for Commerce Plus. These built-in reports and dashboards span e-commerce, operations, and more, offering numerous insights out of the box.
  • Reports in Commerce Plus offer visibility into visitor behaviour on any e-commerce store, including heat maps, scroll maps and more. Reports also provide insights into conversions for every product sold on the e-commerce store. For example, conversion percentages for adding an item to a cart to a successful checkout is tracked for every product, region, and more. This offers insights into conversions based on various parameters.
  • Data from third-party system can be imported into Zoho Analytics and analysed alongside data from Commerce Plus, providing blended insights.

Intelligence & AI

  • Commerce Plus inherits all the AI capabilities from Zoho One. Intelligence from sales, marketing, support, and other Zoho apps is combined with commerce data, offering intelligent insights to the user.
  • AI is a key factor in Commerce Plus’ fraud detection. The platform cross-referencing IP address information available from other Zoho and third-party systems. Zia will notify businesses of suspicious or fraudulent activity from a particular customer.

Third-Party Integration & Extendibility

  • Zoho understands that businesses use multiple third-party applications. Through Zoho Flow, the company’s integration platform, Commerce Plus enables seamless integration with third-party systems. Zoho Flow is pre-integrated with more than 200 applications. Businesses can hook Commerce Plus into any third-party system and during any transaction. For example, if a business wants to push customer data or order data into a third-party system whenever an order is placed, it can be done with the platform
  • Commerce Plus inherits extensibility from individual Zoho applications, making Commerce Plus customisable and extendable to the needs of any growing business

New marketing platform announced

Zoho also announced its new marketing platform that executes marketing campaigns across multiple channels. The platform co-ordinates the orchestration of marketing campaigns centrally, against outcomes, plans, and budgets. Designed to help businesses of all sizes coordinate marketing tightly with sales, the platform is integrated with Zoho CRM and a number of other third-party applications.

The platform is driven by Zoho MarketingHub, a new application that addresses the need for marketing coordination across the proliferating marketing channels of the digital world. It allows marketers to create personalised journeys for prospects based on their intermediate responses to the campaigns that engage them. By designing and automating these personal journeys, personalised marketing can be executed on a very large scale. Journeys map the user experiences across multiple channels that include web, social, email, mobile, and event marketing.

Enterprise Times: What this means for retailers?

Small and medium sized retailers have another option in the already crowded omni-channel platform marketplace. Zoho previously provided web-based online office suite. But they have now progressed to offer a fully integrated eCommerce infrastructure.

On paper, the Commerce Plus delivers an integrated platform that provides a central index for every aspect of the eCommerce journey. It will be interesting whether Zoho can challenge the other popular ecommerce platforms in Europe:  Magento, Opencart, WooCommerce, PrestaShop or OsCommerce. The company is aiming to increase its presence in different markets with larger sales and support teams.

The company needs to win a few eCommerce contracts with up and coming medium-sized businesses. Zoho needs a few case studies to effectively establish itself as a serious player in an already incredibly busy marketplace.


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