An Optimal Approach to Omnichannel Commerce to Maximize Lifetime Customer Value

We are moving to a more comprehensive commerce experience that must consider a customer’s full lifecycle, from inspiration and payment to reengagement.

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The pandemic has been the catalyst for accelerating digital commerce growth. Commerce now is more than a platform or a transaction — it is an immersive experience built on an ecosystem of technologies with a view toward long-term engagement. Today’s hyper-connected customers expect more from businesses; they expect personalized experiences that are fast, easy, and convenient. This environment is fundamentally different from even one year ago.

We are moving to a more comprehensive commerce experience that must consider a customer’s full lifecycle, from inspiration and payment to reengagement. Experiential commerce is an imperative for every brand; those that were not born digitally native must evolve — fast. This new emphasis allows brands to tell the stories of their product experiences, and enables even the most discerning of shoppers to overcome purchase anxieties.

To move from the transaction-centric approach to engagements that last a lifetime requires new thinking about how to construct that experience. Brands must know how and when to reach customers on their terms, and channels must be coherent and consistent. This is not just a “retail only” phenomenon; delivering immersive experiences is necessary in nearly every industry, for both B2B and B2C customers.

Modern Commerce Architecture and the Omnichannel Role

The foundation of modern commerce architecture is an omnichannel philosophy. Customers no longer are willing to have different experiences — and even different commerce terms — depending on how they interact with brands. They want to pick up where they left off in another channel, have consistent experiences, and not be forced to reenter or repeat information just because they are using a different channel.

The movement to omnichannel is unstoppable. A NICE survey found 90% of customers want an omnichannel experience, and, according to Digital Commerce 360, omnichannel retailers grew their conversion rates nearly 40% during the pandemic. Omnichannel is not solely a concern for retailers; all types of businesses are finding it essential to support it.

Taking this approach also enables a brand to maximize the lifetime value of the customer. When customers are more comfortable with a brand and have consistent commerce experiences that are efficient for them and is driven by valuable interactions, they become loyal and engaged customers. Further, a comprehensive focus makes it possible to deliver the right content, inducements, and other benefits that have value to the individual customer at the right time. Communication with the brand is positive and beneficial, not a waste of their time.

An excellent example of omnichannel commerce in an experience ecosystem can be seen with a multinational consumer-goods manufacturer. Traditional distribution through retailers was slow and expensive. The manufacturer sought to launch two new products directly to consumers, as an experiment to determine the viability of the approach. The channel was set up and selling in four weeks, using modern commerce architecture that blends existing enterprise platforms with best-in-breed retail technologies. More important, specific focus was placed on the buying experience itself, from awareness and product detail to payment and loyalty.

For more information about modern commerce architecture and other new experience trends discovered by Cognizant Digital Experience, go to: https://www.cognizant.com/digital-experience.

John McVay is Head of Digital Experience Solutions at Cognizant. Peter Sheldon is Senior Director Commerce Strategy at Adobe.

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