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The New Commerce Game: The Challenge and the Opportunity

Customer experience has changed the commerce game. It gives start-ups the ability to take on multinational corporations. It gives manufacturers the chance to bypass distributors and sell directly to their customers. And it gives retailers the opportunity to digitally connect with their customers on a human level.

In a recent survey carried out in conjunction with Sitecore, Econsultancy asked over a thousand commerce professionals for their views on the industry, and over 80% said their “success as an ecommerce business depends on their ability to create compelling customer experiences.”

It’s a new game – ensure you’re still playing

Every day and everywhere, new competitors are popping up and changing the rules. By innovating and delivering services in novel and more convenient ways, they’re raising the everyone’s expectations. The only way forward is to beat them at their own game, by innovating with enhanced digital experiences that create lasting connections with customers. 

But in a world where your customers expect to be known, this isn’t easy. 

Whether they’re visiting your website or calling your helpline, modern buyers crave personalized journeys that work across every channel and touchpoint. 

When you have thousands of customers, numerous channels to look after, and siloed teams monitoring different parts of the journey, it can seem impossible – especially if you don’t trust your data.

Many are still searching for the right coach: Trustworthy data

Nearly 65% of global respondents said they don’t have enough customer data to fully understand the customer journey, ranging from a low of 55% in Germany to a high of over 75% in Japan. Meanwhile, 68% say they’re unable to consistently collect data across the journey from consideration to purchase and beyond. 

Many marketers (36%) feel their team hasn’t received the level of training needed to understand the data they’re provided with, while complexity (34%), lack of resources (31%), and legacy systems (28%) also featured highly on the list of reasons marketers don’t trust their data. 

This all points to a lack of confidence in data that crosses industries and geographies – a condition that can only be fixed with patience, experience, and investment.

Many are still struggling to create their dream team: Content and commerce

Over 80% of global respondents say that “relevant content is what gets customers to come back,” while over 75% of executives go further, saying that “content is the strategic key to growing customer lifetime value.” And 65% agree that “combining content with personalization is the best way to compete with global marketplaces like Amazon and Alibaba.” 

But recognizing the value of content and having the platform to deliver the content you need to engage customers effectively are two different things. 

Nearly half of all companies say it’s difficult for them to address the volume of content needed across personas and products. And despite the priority of personalization, less than 40% of companies say they have a system that can personalize for individual consumers. In fact, only one-in-three companies report having a personalization capability that’s sufficient for growing their business quickly.

The full-court press: The right platform

The message is clear: if you want to thrive in the modern marketplace, you’ll need to invest in a platform that’s capable of engaging customers throughout their entire buying journey. A platform that helps you unleash the power of your data. And a platform that’s capable of delivering effective personalization at every touchpoint. 

The commerce game will continue to evolve with the evolving consumer expectations of our connected world. Finding the right tools to keep your business agile is the only way to remain competitive in it. 

Download the full Econsultancy report, Reinventing Commerce: How retailers, CPGs, and manufacturers can compete with content and experience.”

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