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Three Ways Experience-Driven Commerce is Changing Online Shopping

Contentserv Blog | 3 Ways Experience-Driven Commerce Is Changing Online Shopping

“Experience-driven commerce is the future of commerce,” said Adobe’s Executive Vice President, Brad Rencher1 in 2018. It had been two years since an experience-driven commerce future was first predicted, and because the right circumstances took place, it is safe to say that experience-driven commerce is happening now.

E-Commerce has completely transformed how consumers shop and how businesses operate. So, is experience-driven commerce really the next big thing for commerce? And how is it changing the online shopping experiences of consumers?

Experience-driven commerce, defined

According to Adobe2, “Experience-driven commerce = Maximizing sales by delivering customer experiences from discovery to purchase that are optimized with insights from real-time shopping behaviors and multichannel data.”

Specifically, experience-driven commerce is:

  • Customer-centric – presenting products in a way that resonate with what consumers are looking for
  • Omnichannel – meeting shoppers and their needs across all channels
  • Relevant product content – providing shoppers accurate, rich, complete and up-to-date product content

Experience-driven commerce trumps traditional commerce since today’s consumers are savvy enough to know and get what they want. They seek personalized experiences, connection and engagement. This means businesses need to develop experience-driven commerce strategies if they want to remain relevant and competitive.

Experience-driven commerce, the essentials

The shift to experience-driven commerce is fueled by:

The age of consumers. Millennials are currently the largest consumer group3, and Gen Z, the pickier and savvier version of Millennials, is not far behind. These current and soon-to-be consumers grew up with digital conveniences at their fingertips – and they only recognize brands that are accessible and personal.

Brands must be customer centric. Brands cannot expect these new breeds of consumers to accept everything they provide. Thus, brands need to find a way to know their customers — their needs, preferences, where they are and how they shop. The foundation to understanding this consumer behavior begins with data. Therefore, brands must harness the power of data if they want to deliver experiences tailored to the needs of these consumers.

Constant connectivity. 53% of the global population is connected to the internet4, and it is a number that is still growing as devices become more affordable. It is also estimated that an average person owns and will use at least 154 connected devices by 20304. Most consumers can therefore easily reach for any of these devices to research a product or service they need, complete a purchase, and share their experience, good or bad, online. This means that with a few swipes, consumers can make or break a brand.

Brands must be omnichannel. Today’s consumers expect to have access to what they want when they want it. To remain competitive and relevant, brands must employ a strategy that delivers a seamless experience across all platforms – desktop, laptop, mobile phones, tablets and in-store.

Personalization. Most shoppers are willing to share personal information as long as they get personalized experiences in return. In fact, 61% are willing to share private information to ensure brands understand their needs5. Furthermore, offering personalized shopping experiences are necessary for brands to build loyalty and expand their customer base:

  • 52% of consumers said they would switch brands if the company does not offer personalized communication6
  • 25% of consumers have stopped engaging with a brand due to poor personalization7
  • 35%  of Millennial consumers are willing to walk away from a brand with poor personalization7

Brands must offer personalized and contextualized product experiences.Consumers become advocates when brands meet or exceed their expectations. Brands must understand their customers and their purchase journey to create a shopping experience that specifically caters to their needs.

So how can brands deliver the demands for experience-driven commerce?

Delivering experience-driven commerce

Brands that want to focus on experience-driven commerce must re-imagine their e-commerce strategy. Many will have to begin by embarking on a digital transformation journey. Digital transformation is the catalyst for innovation in the e-commerce space. It allows brands to connect people, process, data and technology. Specifically, digital transformation can help brands eliminate organizational and technological silos, improve internal processes and empower brands to deliver accurate and updated information to its partners and audiences. This is vital to build an engaging brand message in order to generate the success expected of an experience-driven business.

Brands that are digital are in a great position to understand consumers, enhance their product offerings and deliver a channel-agnostic experience, any time. Additionally, brands must consider the following elements when shifting to a more experience-driven approach:

  • Technology. Brands need to leverage the right technology that can fully support their e-commerce strategy. The necessary solutions will depend on the products sold and the target market. At its core, the chosen technology must be able to provide solutions for personalization, analytics, testing, product information and digital assets management.
  • Data. Hyper-personalized experiences begin with data. Brands need a system of insight to ensure that data, wherever and however it is used and by whom, is high quality – complete, accurate, rich and up to date, all the time. Additionally, data must be used intelligently by way of analytics to fully exploit its potential.
  • Content. Product content is critical. It must speak to the needs and wants of consumers. To provide context around shopping experiences, product content must be tailored to the persona, preferences, location and needs of the target audience.

Experience-driven commerce begins with product experience

Great experience-driven commerce begins with meeting customers on every stage of their shopping journey. It requires understanding on how consumers use different channels to look for the information they need to decide on a purchase. Brands must send the right messages without overwhelming their consumers along the way. Furthermore, the shopping journey must be made seamless and easy.

Delivering experience-driven commerce does not have to be complicated. However, it does require the right strategy that is adaptable to the future expectations and preferences of consumers.

What’s the Difference between ECM, PIM, DAM and DMS?

ECM vs. PIM, DAM and DMS

Enterprise Content Management (ECM)

An ECM solution helps organizations store, manage and distribute unstructured business-critical documents, such as invoices and account statements.

ECM use cases

  • Helicopter manufacturer. A world-leading helicopter manufacturer needed to consolidate and format large documents and easily generate their 800-page helicopter maintenance logbook. With data being stored in almost 400 different instances and systems, logging and compiling information into a single document seemed impossible until they used an ECM solution.
  • Telephone utility company. A phone company wanted to improve their customers’ experience with their telephone bill. They used an ECM solution to consolidate and layout information such as usage (SMS and phone calls), profile (personal details), marketing (loyalty points) and legal information. With an ECM, the phone company was able to customize the information they send to customers, effectively creating a platform for them to introduce or promote their products while providing much-needed insight into the customers’ consumption habits.

Product Information Management (PIM) and Digital Asset Managenet (DAM)

A PIM solution allows organizations to centralize, manage and efficiently distribute all product-related information across all channels.

Organizations typically have volumes of technical and marketing-related product data that are in different formats and stored on multiple repositories. Through the PIM solution’s data modeling capability, all product data can be standardized, and its characteristics and composition organized and categorized. Product data can then be consolidated into a single central repository, allowing for the distribution of accurate product data inside and outside the organization.

PIM use case

  • The food industry. The highly regulated food industry has complex product information requirements, wherein brands are required to declare the item’s chemistry, composition and ingredients. They must also be made available to international or local markets. Through the PIM’s data modeling capability, brands can create classifications and categories, while ensuring product information accuracy and relevance. If they’re present in several countries, brands can automatically translate and localize content to meet customer expectations.

A DAM solution, on the other hand, enables brands to centralize the storage and management of digital resources such as images, video, etc., making it easy for creative/marketing teams to securely search, enrich and distribute digital assets.

The central repository helps improve processes and accelerate creative collaboration on advertising campaigns and other marketing activities.

PIM and DAM are complementary solutions that are often used together. All the product information that brands manage and enrich in the PIM can be easily associated with the digital content in the DAM.

Document Management System (DMS)

DMS enables organizations to store, manage and track electronic documents and images. It’s a solution that fast-tracks document digitization effectively ending archaic processes and ensuring legal compliance. it’s a timely solution for Europe, as governments require consultancy-type organizations to send legal and sensitive documents (e.g. contracts, payslips, etc.) via a DMS solution for security purposes. A DMS is often associated with electronic signatures or certifications.

DMS use case

  • Digital security. Today, emails are considered as intangible evidence. However, emails can be altered or falsified. A DMS can solve this issue through secured exchanges and document version management. As for payslips, they can be de-materialized and stored electronically.
  • Tax systems. The French tax system allows companies to de-materialize documents as long as they meet numerous constraints such as archiving in specific places. DMS enables companies to digitize documents and solve legal constraints through compliance.

Where the four solutions converge

ECM deals with transactional data, PIM and DAM take care of product data and DMS digitizes and secures documents. All of them promote single repositories, offering to centralize, manage, protect and distribute data. They can help organizations increase productivity, efficiency and data quality, resulting in accelerated time-to-market. They also help reduce costs and lead times, as well as simplify compliance with certifications and regulations.