Experience-Led Commerce: From Personalisation To Individualisation

For forward-thinking business leaders, e-commerce is no longer just a buy button at the end of an online sales funnel. It’s a full-service, end-to-end experience that requires a solid infrastructure in place to meet customers’ expectations for a more fluid and accessible buying journey.

But what does that truly look like? Nicholas Kontopoulos, regional head of APAC and EMEA marketing at Magento, an Adobe company, provides his insight.

Big picture, what kind of changes have you observed across the e-commerce landscape?

We’ve seen the narrative change from a specific focus on e-commerce to commerce as a whole, and it’s representative of the shift in the landscape of how consumers engage with brands. We’re seeing a pivot toward something that informs, enriches, or addresses a problem [consumers are] trying to solve. Consumers want a richer experience, and these days a truly world-class commerce platform needs to create real brand utility.

How has the emphasis on customer experience driven innovation in commerce?

If you think about the commerce experience, the digital experience, it does ultimately anchor back into the ability of a brand to deliver on its promise. The acquisition of Magento by Adobe propels us into a whole new class — a new category of capabilities for our customers, allowing them to go fluidly from content to fulfillment. It’s this fluidity, reducing friction, that’s key.

Dentsu Isobar commissioned some research last year looking at the Centennial generation (born between 1995 and present day) in Southeast Asia, and 72 percent of them said they prefer shopping online versus in store. They still want to transact and engage with brands, and 82 percent are super excited about new technologies that are coming online that enrich and stretch that experience, like augmented and virtual reality. So there’s a significant trend here in terms of getting that digital experience right.

The notion of individualization is now becoming increasingly important. How do I individualize that experience? And, again, this is where digital content capabilities enable us to do that. Machine learning is getting stronger and AI more common. The better we can harness data, the better I can move beyond personalization to individualization — tailoring specific offers at that right moment in time, across the right channels, to get back to that “channel-less,” more fluid experience I was talking about earlier.

What does personalisation or individualisation look like in a commerce context? Is it a challenge to deliver a fluid experience while upholding security standards?

Really good question. Here’s a great data point for you from the [Dentsu Isobar] research: Seventy-six percent of Centennials are happy to share data with brands if it makes the experience better. This gets back to what I was saying about brand utility. If I’m sharing data with you, and you’re using that data to enrich and individualize my experience, to tailor it in a meaningful way and help me make an informed decision, well, guess what? That is something I’m going to become more comfortable doing with you as a brand. But the moment you break that trust, it becomes an issue. The challenge then for me [as a brand] is to think about how I take that information and use it in a way that creates a better experience for my consumer.

Can you provide an example of an APAC business that, from your perspective, excels in experience-led commerce?

One company that really embodies a lot of what we’ve spoken about, from the executive level down, would be Accent Group in Australia. I see [chief digital officer] Mark Teperson as a revolutionary thinker in this space, and his leadership team really gets this. They understand it. They live and breathe it. We’ve had the great privilege of being part of that journey with them, and Mark often talks passionately about the results they’ve seen, whether it’s 10x sales growth in 10 months, 2x conversion rates in their business, or 30-percent-to-50-percent increases in “click and collect” from digital.

What I love about Accent Group’s vision is that they’re not looking at this just in a digital lens — they’re looking at the physical and digital. When you bring those two worlds together, you can actually drive a truly transformational experience, not just for the customer but also for the employees. At the end of the day, we’re making promises to these customers. We need to empower our employees to deliver [at all touchpoints]. This is where I think people like Mark understood that.

Discover how Accent Group are shaking up the retail industry in the video below. A full Q&A with Mark Teperson can be found here on CMO.com.

What are some of the things you’re excited to bring to the Magento ecosystem over the next year or so?

With the Adobe acquisition of Magento, we’re now able to really stretch out and achieve some of the ideas I’ve spoken about in terms of the customer journey from content to fulfilment. How do we take that content, create it, and serve it up in a way that creates a real utility to the customer? How do we do that in a way that’s channel-less, individualized, and transcends the physical and digital? These are ideas that I’m super excited about because I think these concepts have become a reality.