June 13, 2022

Evolving from E-commerce to Experience-commerce

Business as usual is no longer possible. The global pandemic has upturned consumer behaviors and forced retailers to focus heavily on digital channels. Even e-commerce brands already comfortable in the digital realm have had to toss out the old rulebook and write a new one.

For retailers mired in legacy systems and incomplete customer data, the new rules are all about how to rise above these challenges and become an experience-driven commerce brand. After all, more than two-thirds of brands with top-tier customer experience (CX) were three times more likely to have “significantly outpaced” other retailers, according to a 2021 Digital Trends: Retail in Focus report by Adobe and Econsultancy.

In this new era of experience, there is more at stake than ever when responding to customer behaviors with speed and personalization. But how does an e-commerce business go from business as usual to delivering relevant and engaging experiences?

Here are the four key ingredients you’ll need:

1. Start With Strategy

Launching campaigns faster under tighter timelines is the number one challenge for retail marketers. But solving this challenge and the other myriad challenges around delivering exceptional experiences starts with strategy.

The right experience strategy should give you a roadmap across people, processes, and technologies. For example, one creative production team at a multinational retailer we worked with struggled to deliver promotional assets fast enough during the holiday season. The team recognized they needed to define their mission and objectives, adapt their processes to meet those objectives, and determine what technology would best help them achieve their goals.

They solved the issue by developing a multi-year, phased approach to integrate and expand Adobe Workfront and Adobe Experience Manager so they could create, manage and deliver content across the entire digital experience lifecycle. The creative production team is now delivering more efficiently than ever before. As a result, they’ve been able to increase productivity by 20%.

2. Add More Agility

If a global pandemic has taught retailers anything—it’s that agility matters. Instead of days or weeks to plan and launch campaigns, marketers need to respond sometimes in mere hours to changing consumer or market behaviors.

The benefit of using a solution like Adobe Experience Manager is that it’s built on a cloud- native foundation. The system will automatically scale and serve content on any channel and any use case, including intranet or portal, IoT device, e-commerce site, and more. As a result, you can quickly build, test, and launch new campaigns—and can grow from a small site to any size you need to serve your needs without issue.

3. Integrate Technology

The primary elements at the core of a personalization infrastructure are data, content, and delivery technology. However, it’s often not as simple as just adding these technology solutions to your MarTech stack.

Most retail systems are a complex mix of new and mature technology solutions as well as
a mix of internal and external products. Getting the entire tech stack to integrate and work together is important because a well-integrated MarTech stack makes it easier for marketing to work without toggling between tools, and it requires less management from IT.

Before you begin adding new personalization technologies, you need to evaluate legacy technology and understand to what extent it limits your organization’s ability to deliver personalized experiences. Then, identify what solutions would best achieve your desired outcomes and integrate them into your current MarTech. One way to do this is by scorecarding products based on both employee and customer needs.

4. Promote Incremental Change

While achieving one-to-one personalization may be your North Star, it’s not necessary to deliver a better experience. Even a small step toward personalization can make a big difference.

Evaluate and focus on incremental improvements at each phase of the consumer journey. Are you able to collect customer data across all touchpoints, including offline and online? Can you then take this data and stitch it together to create a unified customer profile? Can you deliver these insights to your customers in real-time and across all channels?

Wherever you are in the journey of evolving to experience-driven commerce, keep your eye on the goal: to meet your customers when and where they want to be met – whether in-store, online, or both. Every step you make toward this goal will improve the customer experience.