The Limitless Opportunities of Experience-Driven Commerce
by Mark Lavelle
posted on 11-19-2018
There’s never been a more exciting time to be in commerce. Whether you’re a consumer brand or a manufacturer, whether you sell to millennials on Instagram or procurement officers, there’s never been a more perfect storm of change — or a more perfect confluence of opportunities to seize.
Digital technologies of every kind have now reached consumers and business people on every continent. Pervasive use of this technology has reset people’s expectations of how they engage with the world around them. Your customers’ expectations of your company are now higher than ever. As consumers or as business buyers we demand immersive, personalized and seamless experiences no matter where, when or how we choose to transact. We want incredibly relevant interactions without sacrificing privacy. We want consistently high quality and value-added engagements that map to our preferences. And we want you to recognize us, whether we’re in-store or online, on our mobile devices or at our desktops. In short, we expect our interactions in the digital world to be like our interpersonal relations in the physical world.
These new customer dynamics provide challenges and opportunities for companies of every size. And for businesses feeling overwhelmed by all this, the good news is, there are powerful and robust digital capabilities easily accessible to supercharge your business.
Winning the customer journey
Ultimately, digital technology shifts the competitive focus for companies in every industry. Every experience a customer has with another business changes what they expect from your business. In a flash, innovation in one sector can reshape another sector. So, it’s no longer just about delivering the best products or services with the best combination of cost, quality and convenience. Now, the race is on to deliver the best overall experience across the full customer journey from experience creation through to delivery and repeat purchase.
- Experience Creation: It starts with the first creative spark that underpins the first moment of awareness: the colors, perspective and images you use to grab someone’s attention, to make a connection and to build upon it.
- Awareness: The medium and context in which your company or product appear play an important role. Companies must increasingly fit within their customer’s reality, their interests and their daily life, rather than expecting customers to come to them. You must anticipate their problems and offer solutions at every step. This is what Gartner calls ‘commerce that comes to you’.
- Discovery: Brands must be prepared to capitalize on those first moments of awareness to build affinity and interest around their unique offerings. How you tell your story across digital and physical devices, social sites, information hubs, and marketplaces must be consistent. It needs to be considerate and relevant (rather than creepy) and always respectful of customer privacy.
- Consideration: You must then build on that initial connection and empower a digitally enabled, 24/7 customer who feels overwhelmed by a litany of choices and offers. How do you make their job easier yet surprise and delight them with new experiences and offers?
- Conversion: Even when companies do everything right leading up to the actual transaction, getting customers to take that action – to sign-up, to download, to venture into the store, to engage in a trial offering, and ultimately to BUY — these actions are hard won**.** This is why getting customers to this stage used to be thought of as the end goal. Over the past five to ten years, we’ve seen the transaction moved way up in the customer journey from where it used to be. Now everything is a buy button. Subscription business models like Birchbox, Stitchfix and others have moved the element of discovery and surprise after the actual purchase has been completed; consumers don’t know what products they’re getting until the box arrives in their home. Internet of Things (IoT) technologies push consideration even further, shifting almost all the opportunity for brand engagement to post purchase. So, conversion is where the experience of being part of the brand begins!
- Retention: While most businesses think about the impact of digital on the early stages of the customer lifecycle, the impact – and opportunity to elevate engagement — in post purchase is no less dramatic. From order confirmations and behind the scenes “How It’s Made” content, to real-time delivery tracking and highly curated unboxing and installation experiences, your customers expect you to actively welcome them into your brand community. Engaging them throughout their ownership lifecycle enables you to cement customer confidence in their purchase (and minimize returns) while laying a strong foundation for repeat business. In the same way that companies like Apple, Tesla, Canon and others invest in connecting and nurturing their advocates, companies in every industry need to think creatively about how they can add value to their lifetime customer relationships.
The path to the customer is more varied and complex than ever. There are more business models and channels than ever. Your customers live in a digital world — 24/7, always on, no weekends, no time off, no store hours, no holidays. Your brand has to be there. You have to be ready. This is where the future will be won and lost in terms of commerce. It is what digital transformation is all about.
While there are myriad categories of customer service and experience solutions on the market today — from display advertising to CRM, customer intelligence, web content management etc. — the burden of orchestrating these solutions has historically fallen on companies.
Magento + Adobe: Bringing the vision of experience-driven commerce to life
Now is the time to put all the pieces of the puzzle together. To deliver highly relevant experiences,, you need to bring together the right combination of data, insights, and content to address what matters for your customers, and repeatedly prove value to keep the journey moving in the right direction. Now, the race is on to become an experience business. For the first time, companies can take a holistic view of how they engage with customers through every moment of interaction, over the lifetime of their customer relationship.
This vision of experience-driven commerce is what inspired Adobe and Magento to join forces. Together, Adobe and Magento have everything you need to make every moment personal and every experience shoppable. Whatever your vision is for your business, whether you sell to consumers or businesses or both, our job is to help you deliver amazing experiences across the board. That’s always been a part of Magento’s mission, and it’s something we’re more dedicated to now than ever as part of Adobe.
See how commerce is being redefined — and what it means for your business — with more stories in our Brick and Click Collection.
Topics: Digital Transformation, Leadership, Corporate Marketer
Products: Experience Cloud, Magento Commerce