By Benjamin Adamski, Technology Team Lead, Chicago Digital Studio, Avanade
As consumers enjoy more shopping choices than ever before, modern commerce is becoming increasingly customer-centric when it comes to the personalized shopping experience. Since more than 30% of consumers shop online at least once a week, savvy retailers realize how imperative it is to cut through the noise and exceed their customers’ digital commerce expectations. Clever messaging, unique offers, and sleek advertising can play a factor in driving traffic to online stores, but once shoppers arrive, it’s critical to keep them engaged with meaningful and action-driven experiences. Marketing automation features native to a marketing experience cloud that can extend to a digital commerce platform will be able to seamlessly create experiences for scenarios such as abandoned carts, upcoming product notifications, or restocking of previously viewed out-of-stock items.
Regardless of whether they are shopping on their smartphones at midnight or first to walk through the door at a new store opening, consumers expect a consistent and enjoyable experience from their favorite brands. Experiences must be seamless between handoffs across every channel from marketing to in-store experience and digital commerce. As shoppers move through the conversion funnel from acquisition and engagement to purchase, leading to advocacy, one platform that unifies the entire shopping experience is necessary for retailers to effectively deliver a seamless customer journey. With a personalized shopping experience at the foundation of your digital commerce, the possibilities are endless through a single platform that unifies experience management of content, personalization, multivariate testing, and analytics with the retailing capabilities of catalog, inventory, pricing, promotions, ordering, and customer management.
So what does this mean for retailers? Leveraging a unified platform for both commerce and web content management provides seamless content targeting, recommendations, and search personalization while being integrated with rich media management, inventory, pricing, and checkout. Even non-traditional commerce use cases such as catalog-only non-transactional commerce, catalog, and inventory experiences can start with a foundation and enable transactional features at a later date.
Marketers must consider and weigh various business priorities when selecting the right digital commerce platform: targeting and personalization, content management, flexibility, and scale, among others. To attract and retain customers, retailers must stay nimble and grow quickly, while simultaneously delivering personalized shopping experiences across traditional, mobile, and emerging channels. This daunting process can be made less onerous by choosing a service-driven digital commerce platform that supports omnichannel and headless experiences. It also simplifies and accelerates digital marketing by enabling contextual selling for more engaging shopping experiences. When retailers are ready to execute personalization, they need to control that personalized shopping experience down to the cart value, product views, and beyond. These activities lead to an expanded customer experience, incremental engagements, and exciting opportunities for major growth, which means marketers need a platform that enables them to scale.
Recent Avanade research indicates that 96% of organizations have a customer experience strategy, but only 14% are ahead of customer expectations. Flexible modern commerce systems are a requirement for ever-changing business demands. As digital consumer behavior shifts to subscription-based consumption models where retailers promote and ship customers products such as wine, toothbrushes, and razors on a recurring basis, flexibility within the context of a commerce platform is key to a successful retail experience. Through a modern digital commerce platform based on a flexible architecture, retailers not only create these personalized shopping experiences but also easily visualize the full user flow and analytics to test and optimize them.
A WCM microservices architecture built on the latest ASP.NET core together with a plug-in based design provides the flexibility to optimize the commerce feature set to use only the modules required for the solution. And it can support highly scalable commerce workloads on premises and in the cloud. As our clients leverage these insights to offer more personalized shopping experiences, they often see rapid increases in customer loyalty and conversion rates.
When brands leverage a unified digital commerce platform with the scale of cloud to generate a seamless, personalized shopping experience, they set themselves up for a bright future. A single view of the customer enables delivery of curated experiences in every channel. And marketers who select a fully integrated suite empower themselves to execute even the most complicated commerce campaigns.
Benjamin Adamski, a Sitecore Commerce MVP, leads the technology team at the Chicago Digital Studio of Avanade, a Sitecore Global Platinum Solution Partner. Follow him on LinkedIn and Twitter, and learn more about the rewards of a powerful digital retail experience with Sitecore and Avanade.