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WHY IT’S TIME TO PREPARE FOR EXPERIENCE-DRIVEN COMMERCE

Earlier this year, Adobe turned a few heads by acquiring the open source commerce platform Magento for $1.68bn. Over the last few months, there has been increasing speculation around precisely what this new partnership will mean for marketers and the world of e-commerce.

At the recent Magento Live event in Barcelona, it quickly became clear that the Adobe and Magento dream team have their sights firmly set on transforming SMBs. Unsurprisingly, they announced that the integration of Magento commerce cloud into the Adobe Experience Cloud. But, what does this mean exactly?

The soundbite was that "Adobe makes every experience personal, while Magento is making every moment Shoppable." In short, Adobe is looking to dominate every aspect of the customer journey. Adobe's Experience Cloud has enabled businesses to manage their marketing and advertising efforts along with their invaluable analytics services too.

However, Magento is the final missing piece of the jigsaw by offering the ability to add a shopping cart to their digital presences without leaving Adobe's walled garden. But, most importantly of all, it will open up advanced commerce capabilities to companies of all sizes.

“It’s no longer enough just to have a great product or just to have a great location, but what we believe is the only sustainable, durable competitive advantage is really around the experience.”

Errol Denger, director of commerce strategy at Adobe.

Ironically, these changes are actually being driven by our rising expectations as customers rather than Adobe. The most significant change that businesses of all sizes must prepare for is that customers now expect more than a great product or service at the right price.

Amazon Prime customers can have a product delivered to them within a few hours, Netflix knows what we want to watch, and Spotify puts 40 million songs at our fingertips. Anything that fails to live up to our rising expectations will be dropped in an instant. Pleasing fickle and unforgiving customers is possibly the biggest challenge facing businesses both large and small.

Customer experiences have become more important than the transaction itself. Offering the ability to seamlessly engage with your brand across every touch point, whether it be online or offline has become our standard. The game-changing moment is that an increasing number of brands are beginning to differentiate themselves through highly personalized, customer-centric experiences.

Every touch point throughout your customer journey represents an opportunity to add shopping experiences. Adobe’s AI and machine learning framework, Adobe Sense also integrates with Adobe Target to deliver contextually relevant shopping experiences too.

Anticipating your customer needs in a digital world where every experience is personalized and made shoppable could change everything. It can be used to drive customer loyalty and enable businesses to gain a competitive advantage. But, what happens when these new shopping experiences become the norm?

The downside of this transformational change is that many customers could judge every brand they encounter by these new set of standards. Unfortunately, companies that deem these new rising levels of customer expectations as unrealistic could quickly fall out of favour.

However, recent acquisitions and headlines around the rise of experience-driven commerce doesn't necessarily mean that everyone should sign up to Adobe and hand over a bucketload of money. You simply need to learn how you can begin to build a unified customer experience across multiple touchpoints.

Experience-driven commerce is here to stay, so how will your company ride the wave, rather than get left behind? Ultimately, it's about how you deliver content and experiences on the right device, at the right time, and in the right situation without being perceived as creepy.

Many get overly consumed and downhearted about how they can stitch together experiences across multiple channels. But some of the quickest wins can be achieved by simply ensuring everyone is on the same page and eradicating silos within your company.

Teams across sales, marketing, and customer service departments, along with your online and offline teams all need to provide the same experience. Aligning your focus on your customer persona and synergizing your efforts is more important than any new solution.

Equally, understanding who your customer is, what they want and what disappoints them will help you create experiences that excite rather than frustrate your audience. Sadly, despite the hype, there isn't an off-the-shelf product that can give you all the answers you need.

Technology should be the tool that helps bring people together and create experiences that keep customers coming back for more. If you do that the right way, your customers won't even know that your marketing team exists and that is real progress.

How are you preparing for a new digital era of experience-driven commerce? Please share your experiences and insights by commenting below or chat to a member of our team by clicking here.

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Pelling have over 50 years combined experience designing and coding websites. We work with companies of all sizes, from one-man bands to multinational blue chip companies. We endeavour to provide high quality service, while maintaining a competitive price.

We pride ourselves in our level of customer service, which we believe is the main reason behind our high customer retention rates.