June 23rd, 2015 | 3 MIN READ

A Case Study In Commerce Maturity

Written by author_profile_images Linda Bustos

Linda is an ecommerce industry analyst and consultant specializing in conversion optimization and digital transformation.

assessmentAt Elastic Path, we’re excited to announce the launch of The Advanced Commerce Maturity Scale, a proprietary self-assessment tool that you can use to score your company’s ability to conduct omnichannel, experience-driven commerce across touchpoints.

We recognize that there’s no one-size-fits-all playbook for digital strategy.

Inspired by the Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator, the ACMS divides companies into 16 distinct maturity profiles, each with its own strengths, challenges and opportunities across 4 dimensions: Organization (Autonomous or Integrated), Strategy (Tactical or Fundamental), Interaction (Discrete or Consistent) and Technology (Legacy or Progressive).

Your personalized in-depth company profile provides both visual and descriptive feedback that you can use in articulating, planning and influencing your digital commerce strategy. (The ACMS is designed for mid-to-large sized enterprises that currently generate US$20M+ in annual revenue, and will only be valid for businesses that meet this criteria).

Once you understand your maturity profile, you will be better able to articulate the ways in which characteristics of your business limit your ability to deliver digital experiences. You will also have a better framework to help you understand which commerce solutions and strategies are best suited to the unique strengths and weaknesses of your enterprise.

ACMS Case Study: International Apparel Retailer

intl-retailerA major fashion brand operates several thousand stores on multiple continents, with localized ecommerce in about half of the countries where it has a presence. Digital strategy is centralized at the executive level, and has risen significantly in importance and priority after accountability was transferred 18 months ago from a Senior Vice?President to the CMO.

Ecommerce and in?store sales remain entrenched in separate channels, but the company began introducing shared metrics and technology about a year ago in an attempt to track the behavior and value of its customers across touchpoints. This rollout, in addition to that of several omnichannel features such as in?store pickup and returns, has been encumbered by CRM, ERP, and ecommerce architecture that has proven time?consuming to integrate effectively with the proposed front?end capabilities.

These shortcomings are reflected in a somewhat fragmented customer experience, which is relatively common for a large multichannel retailer. Digital commerce deficiencies include gaps in customer recognition and messaging between desktop, mobile, and in?store touchpoints; lack of marketing consistency between different phases in the buying cycle; and generally weak omnichannel distribution capabilities. The overall quality of the digital commerce operations also varies significantly between geographic markets.

Assessment Results

The dimension scores for this retailer (O=8, S=12, I=6, T=8) give it a profile of AFDL, and place it at the emerging maturity level. Digital commerce strategy is relatively strong at this company, but its organizational, interaction, and technology capabilities rank at or slightly below average, relative to the current standard of excellence across the consumer market at large.

Digital commerce at this retailer functions in a generally Autonomous manner, is Fundamental to overall enterprise growth, delivers Discrete experiences as customers move through the buying cycle, and relies primarily on Legacy technologies to operate.

The AFDL Kite Graph shows visually the areas of strength and opportunity:


Interpreting and Using Your Results

The ACMS maturity profiles are not a measure of how good your existing digital experiences are. Rather, they indicate the unique strengths and weaknesses of your enterprise, and suggest the level of quality you can expect to achieve in a digital commerce project, relative to the current market ideal.

Your profile will also highlight where you may be limited, with detailed description of what is required to move “up” the curve given your available resources across the four dimensions.

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