The explosion in online purchasing and e-commerce activity during the COVID-19 pandemic means that brands must significantly improve the quality and seamlessness of the commerce experience. All brands want their online customers to complete transactions, but that isn’t enough. Success demands a modern commerce experience, including on-target recommendations, omnichannel support, and personalization that goes far beyond what was possible only a year or two ago. Any brand that fails to quickly deploy a commerce platform that can deliver these capabilities will soon be left behind.
Customers, of both B2C and B2B brands, now expect a commerce experience to deliver a coherent interaction. And all customers expect the commerce experience to be consistent, whether they are on a mobile or a desktop device. They want the look and feel of an app rather than a series of pages.
The experience must be dynamic too. New features, content, and functionality will be delivered regularly and promptly, taking full advantage of analytics and reporting that offer granular detail on what people are browsing and buying. Such agility to keep the experience fresh and updated improves customer engagement, while a commerce experience that appears out of date and slow to change is quickly abandoned.
The modern commerce experience cannot focus on only the front end. Customers have gained so much e-commerce experience that they can ruthlessly compare and evaluate brands’ capabilities in the areas of search, browsing, purchasing, shipping, and returns. This even extends to account statements and account information pages, which must be accurate and easy to navigate.
And the need for an elevated experience goes beyond digital. The modern commerce experience must be omnichannel, so that telephone interactions and store visits, for example, are woven in. Full integration of the commerce platform with key corporate systems such as order management, inventory, ERP, shipping, and others is necessary.
The personal touch
At the heart of modern commerce is personalization. Consumers have always appreciated and awarded the personal touch in transactions, and the personal touch is manifested by interactions that feel individualized. But today’s sophisticated consumers aren’t impressed by a website greeting them by name. They only respond when they sense a deeper understanding through special pricing/offers, content or catalogs that are uniquely suited to them, relevant search results, and, of course, recommendations that are spot on.
Providing more appropriate recommendations demonstrates a brand’s understanding of the customer, and eliminating recommendations that come out of the blue creates more trust. To differentiate a modern commerce experience, the recommendations engine must be able to go beyond suggestions that are just complementary to a purchase.
Perhaps one of the most overlooked aspects of a modern, more personalized commerce experience is providing customers with custom storefronts. Creating multiple storefronts was once a difficult undertaking, but today simpler tools are available, so brands can better personalize the experience to specific segments, offer “white label” options to other sellers, or support other creative approaches that are separate from the main site or augment it.
As experts with a great deal of experience in modern commerce, the Adobe and Capgemini teams offer three insights that will help a brand move forward:
- Think about what you can do better to make customers feel unique and welcomed. Whether yours is a B2C or B2B brand, making the customer feel like a VIP will get results.
- Develop an approach to provide good search and recommendation capability that is specifically aimed at one customer or a set of similar customers.
- Put yourself in your customers’ shoes and reflect on what they want and how to make their commerce experience more seamless and engaging.
For more information about how your brand can deploy a modern commerce solution that delivers all the capabilities discussed in this blog, click here.