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How Experience-Driven Commerce Can Transform Your Business

Jade Carter

By Jade Carter

February 23, 2015

The following is an excerpt from the up-coming book “The Definitive Guide to Experience-Driven Commerce”, by Elastic Path. Sign up below to receive a free copy.

Over the past decade, how businesses sell has been undergoing a profound shift in almost every way imaginable. In its nascent days, ecommerce was little more than rows and columns of little product images on a website. The best experience an online shopper could hope for was something akin to a product catalog.....

Today, shoppers expect more. A lot more. Mobile phones and beacons are all the rage as shoppers research and checkout inside a physical store without ever approaching the cash register. Smartwatches are poised to explode in 2015 as Apple legitimizes the wearable as a digital wallet. And head-mounted displays such as the Microsoft Hololens have stoked consumer expectations even higher for how shopping experiences might evolve.

Even without the futuristic headgear, shoppers today have a thirst for something much more engaging. Now, consumers expect their shopping to be a full-on “experience”, an immersive, content-rich affair that happens seamlessly across touchpoints – whether it’s in-store, online through an iPhone, tablet, or at home on a regular desktop PC – at a time of the consumers’ choosing. The digital experience is now at the epicenter.

A trove of opportunity

Marketers are also discovering a treasure-trove of opportunities that extend beyond the catalog website. Microsites, social media, blogs, lookbooks and digital magazines are turning into transactional opportunities without the usual friction associated with directing shoppers back to the catalog to complete a purchase.

But what does it mean to be focused on the experience? And what is experience-driven commerce exactly?

In basic terms, experience-driven commerce helps businesses address challenges by providing their customers with personalized experiences across any channel. Most importantly, it seeks to bring commerce capability into the customer experience, as opposed to forcing a content experience that is siloed or segregated from the ecommerce channel. This experience-driven approach is something the antiquated catalog storefront of the ’90s just can’t offer.

Customer lifecycle 2.0

Experience-driven commerce is a fusion of digital marketing, content, analytics and data, with commerce and transactions to support the entire customer lifecycle. It’s not just about marketing. Experience-driven commerce is more about supporting the customer in a digitally enabled way. For example, by utilizing experience-driven commerce a retailer could delivery contextual experiences that are critical to the visitor at that exact moment of their customer journey, such as product discovery.

Imagine this scenario: A shopper walks into an upscale retail store and begins to causally browse. On the wall hangs a digital screen showing new pair of boots. As the shopper moves about the store and gets closer to the digital sign, the display screen quickly changes to show a new handbag -- the exact model handbag that our shopper added to their online wish list just the day before. The shopper receives a personalized experience without even knowing it.

Behind the scenes, a carefully choreographed ballet of technology is taking place. The shopper’s iPhone app for the store is communicating with the store’s iBeacon array, which in turn signals to the digital signage that this shopper is close by. The shopper’s purchase history and preferences allow the signage to be personalized based on context - it knows this shopper already owns the boots, but not the handbag. Further, the color of the handbag shown matches the boots she purchased last month.

To be “experience-driven” also means that an organization is brave enough to rethink how online and offline channels are integrated. Today’s digitally-empowered consumers are shopping everywhere — at home, strolling through the park, or while standing in line at the coffee shop. To most retailers, these opportunities represent separate channels (web, mobile, tablet, in-store, wearables) that are often managed by different departments in a company. But customers don’t see “channels” – they only see your brand. This makes having an experience- driven commerce strategy that takes omni-channel retailing into account more important than ever.

In the age of the digitally-empowered customer, delivering great digital experiences is an essential strategy and business imperative.

To remain competitive, businesses must learn how to embrace this new experience-driven model. The future of commerce is in monetizing the digital experience that brands provide to customers.

To pre-register for the full eBook visit http://elstcp.at/1Ezp7wg


 
Jade Carter

Jade Carter

Jade is a content writer for CMS-Connected, facilitating the needs of the company blog. Bringing 10 years of Search and Digital Marketing to the table, he strives to build informative, relevant and fun editorial posts for the blog feed. Jade is an ultra distance (26.2 miles+) trail runner and lives to run trails in and around his home town of Victoria, BC.