Retail e-commerce sales worldwide touched 2.3 trillion USD in 2017. That’s a 24.8 per cent increase over the previous year, says a recent eMarketer Report. By 2021, the revenues are expected to more than double to reach 4.88 trillion USD.
As an ever-growing tribe of consumers get online, any 21st century enterprise that hopes to ride the digital wave needs to have customer experience at the heart of its e-commerce strategy. Forrester defines Customer Experience as “how customers perceive their interactions with your company.” In other words, it’s not a one-time event; it’s an ongoing process that directly impacts the company’s revenue and growth.
To win – and not just survive – the e-commerce battle, enterprises need to focus on delivering a seamless and real-time online experience that blends simplicity and convenience. The shopping cart process has to be smooth and easy to navigate, while the post-sales support cannot afford to be anything less than responsive and remarkable.
Irrespective of whether the customer is on his/her mobile phone, desktop, social media, or the company website, the customer experience has to be uniformly flawless. Players like Amazon and Starbucks have really raised the bar of flexible functionality in terms of omnichannel presence.
Building strong foundation
Amazing customer experiences are built on sound digital experience platforms (DXPs). From product applications and content management systems to analytics and customer data management, DXPs build a strong foundation for customer-experience-oriented e-commerce architecture.
Unlike in a commerce-led or API-oriented methodology of e-commerce architecture, the focus of a customer-experience-oriented strategy is to go beyond the sale to ensure optimum customer engagement and brand loyalty. For instance, Sitecore – which describes itself as a customer experience platform (CXP) – combines content and commerce to increase conversion through personalization and focus on customers.
Enterprises need to invest in platforms that constantly evolve to keep up with the changing realities and expectations of customers. Sitecore recently collaborated with Salesforce Marketing Cloud to offer not just tailored and connected experiences across channels, but to also further enable digital marketers to deliver their digital brand experiences faster, informed by a more holistic view of the omnichannel customer journey.
Sitecore’s key product is the Sitecore Experience Platform (XP), which combines its powerful content management system (CMS) Sitecore Experience Manager and Sitecore Experience Database (xDB).
What are the top challenges e-commerce sites face today? Converting browsers into buyers, generating targeted traffic, garnering customer engagement and retention, to name some. The key to most of these problems, all of us agree, is to get to know your customers better.
As customers shop across myriad devices, platforms, and channels, it can be a daunting task to decode their personalities and preferences. However, Sitecore’s personalization approach classifies users based on their respective personas and attributes, thereby configuring profiles and content to cater to their needs. What’s more, all the customer data is stored in one place, The Sitecore xDB, which can be linked to the company’s customer relationship management (CRM) tool for a single-view of individual customers.
Leveraging the power of Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence, Sitecore can help discern the most valuable customers from millions of online visitors. Sitecore Cortex helps analyze the buying patterns of each customer, helping companies to proactively cross-sell and up-sell products to them. Sitecore tracks and tweaks itself to improve conversions byfeeding the right content to the right person at the right time, based on their previous interaction data.
With a customer-experience-oriented e-commerce approach, the goal is to create dynamic and consistent customer experience across all touchpoints. This demands a holistic view of the customer regardless of where they interact with the brand – mobile apps, websites, or brick-and-mortar stores.
All in all
According to Gartner, the spending on DXPs will reach 18.4 billion USD by 2021. Even as commerce continues to be the end goal, the emphasis is on creating rich customer experiences and building long-term relationships. From increased customer loyalty and higher lifetime customer value to greater brand equity and reduced costs of service, a customer-experience-oriented digital commerce strategy is guaranteed to yield multiple benefits.
As Sitecore puts it, to be future-ready enterprises today need “the power to own every customer experience”. Does your business have that power? Talk to our Sitecore certified experts to know more.