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Modern Commerce and the 8-Second Rule

This post is based on the webinar Experience-driven modern commerce powered by Adobe and Elastic Path.

You have eight seconds to grab your target’s attention, says a Microsoft study. People are shifting between four to five devices in a day and flipping through their feeds on the subway. There is no time. And, your customers don’t really care…yet.

The challenge is to make them care, or more accurately, make them feel that your brand cares about them. “Those eight seconds are your brand’s moment of truth,” says Ryan Green, Adobe’s Senior Manager for Commerce Strategy and Alliances. The time and money you invested in your product, website, and other channels won’t mean a thing to a customer who’s already left. “We need to listen, predict, assemble and deliver, all within milliseconds.”

How will brands meet this eight-second rule?

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Put yourself in your customers’ shoes

“Steve Jobs said it’s important to start with customer experience and move backward into technology,” says Green. It’s easy to get caught up in the technology and trends, and forget to ask what the customer really needs. Get into their experience. Put yourself in their shoes.”

Quantitative research isn’t enough. Talk to a real person. McKinsey recommends shop-alongs (where researchers watch customers in stores), co-developing promos and features with a focus group, and customer diaries that capture their reactions as they interact with your brand.

Knowing what customers need, feel and encounter — from huge challenges to everyday nuisances — can help you craft a very compelling customer experience.

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Personalize and contextualize your messages

For retail companies in particular, personalization becomes imperative. Seventy-four percent of customers get irritated by websites that serve up content, offers or promotions that have nothing to do with their interests (Kissmetrics). You can’t be successful in e-commerce without personalization – nobody will sift through 500 products they don’t care about.

Monitor their shopping behaviors and preferences; segment offerings and retarget previous site searches and tell them when a product they’ve looked at goes on sale. Also look at context: your customer’s needs can change according to location and date. Is he traveling? Is his birthday coming up? “Having that contextual information is going to be important to you to deliver a great experience,” says Green.

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Find the micro-moments and delight the customer

“It really goes end-to-end all the way from awareness, interest, consideration, conversation, loyalty and advocacy,” says Green. “Some of the great brands that I’ve seen lately have customer journey maps. They’re looking at these small, micro-moments and figuring out ways to delight the customer.”

He says that means commerce companies need to be consistent across every channel and every device, and the experience should feel easy and intuitive. Customers shouldn’t have to hunt for information or zoom several times to find a button then repeat that for the next page because the experience does not work on a new device.

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Invest in speed and flexibility

Companies often run into several business challenges that limit their ability to deliver a good customer experience. Green says the most common issue is speed to market. “The big monolithic stacks are struggling. When you have thousands of lines of code, it’s very difficult and time-consuming to push an update.”

Another problem is the sheer tech complexity involved. Omnichannel is not a new concept, but the reality is that retailers are still wrestling with a complex ecosystem of specialized applications and services to support customer interactions. “Think of all the mechanisms and toolsets that will be touching a single asset such as a product photo,” says Greene.

Ideally, you have one marketing ‘Mission Control’ or centralized toolset, where you can build and manage omnichannel experiences without being dependent on IT. You can easily make changes on pages, tie it to the business process and commerce engine, add profiles. You have full control over creating the user experience.”

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Headless content and commerce

The combination of Adobe Experience Cloud and Elastic Path Commerce provides that desired speed and flexibility. Adobe builds systems of engagement. You can push out changes to your website, mobile app, social wall, POS system – all at the same time. You can split customers into segments and personalize based on data. This is all headless content, managed from a centralized toolset.

Elastic Path Commerce is headless commerce. It takes care of pricing, catalogues, product search, promotions embedding rules from back-end systems and embedding transactional capabilities into all touchpoints.

With headless content and commerce, companies can monetize rich experiences with little reliance on IT and that means business agility. You can win that 8-second battle..


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