Why customers are more than a transaction
How well do you know your customers? Does your company have the ingredients necessary to build lasting, meaningful relationships with them?
In the world of ecommerce, average cart value is one way to differentiate Customer A from Customer B. But that alone isn’t enough to tell you anything much about who spent it or why. And that can be a real problem if you’re trying to see past the numbers and truly understand your customers.
Looking beyond the wallet
If you treat customers as transactions and not as individuals — and your experience is all about price and delivery — then there's no reason for a consumer to stick with you if they search around before their next purchase and find a better price elsewhere.
From their perspective, interacting with your brand might feel like nothing more than sharing a moment with a ticket-taker at a movie theater or feeding coins into a parking meter. That's fine for those types of simple transactions — but is that the kind of customer experience you want to provide when you’re trying to build brand loyalty?
To avoid a race to the bottom over price and delivery you need to build a much deeper, unique, and rewarding relationship with each customer, something they don't get elsewhere.
Providing unique experiences
In today’s digital environment, it's not enough to simply focus on transactions. You need to offer immersive experiences that build brand loyalty. That means being able to deliver a continuous, individualized shopping experience at every stage of the customer journey.
The online cart shouldn't always be viewed as the end state — it could be the beginning or middle in a sequence of interactions that repeat themselves over time.
However, experiences need to be different, because each shopper is unique. Impulsive young professionals, safety-conscious parents, or seniors pursuing new hobbies will each want something distinct from you. It could be extra information, a special offer, a video with useful tips, or a gentle prompt. And you need to engage with them on the device they prefer — at the time they want.
Within each of these groups and many others, there are countless sub-sets of people with different needs and wants too. So how can you start to satisfy all of them with relevant content, at just the right time?
So close, yet so far
More commerce professionals are starting to realize that the critical customer intelligence they could really use right now is tantalizingly out of reach.
First, much of it is trapped within departmental silos — but these separate systems are disjointed and the data they hold lacks any context. Secondly, there are countless other consumer touchpoints, before and after sales, that go completely unnoticed and unrecorded.
Even if someone gathered all this data into one place, it would be too complex to understand and manage across channels. Until now.
Personalization at scale
Sitecore has figured out how to unite content, commerce, and consumer data into something we call “experience commerce”. From a single platform, you can now identify individuals and interact with them in a 1:1 personalized way.
This gives you the edge in five important areas:
#1: Know every customer: An experience database creates a unique profile, per consumer, per device, and tracks all interactions. Every customer is designated as an individual, not a segment.
2: Understand the journey: It's then possible to personalize every interaction at pre-purchase, purchase, and post-purchase. You can gauge where shoppers are in the journey — and what they want to see next with astounding accuracy.
#3: Generate relevant content: The right content can be served up to customers automatically, at just the right time. Tactics such as dynamic cross-selling and up-selling can be used with spectacular results.
#4: Reshape your store: Product listings no longer need to follow the same rigid format for everyone; they can adjust on the fly for customer personas and search behavior.
#5: Optimize selling: You can create a unique offer for each customer, so they see the right product, at the right price, at the right moment. You can even optimize the checkout process to suit them too.
Get closer to customers
Sitecore's Experience Commerce platform makes this possible. It's the key to achieving greater ROI, sharpening your competitive advantage, and winning customers for life — whether you've got hundreds or thousands of products you sell to a global audience in dozens of languages.
To discover how it's done, get your copy of Experience Commerce: The Strategic Guide for Executives. This guide explores the challenges facing commerce professionals, and how leading companies are delivering meaningful experiences to drive customer loyalty.
Wanda Cadigan is Vice President of Commerce Sales at Sitecore. Find her on LinkedIn.