Varun Kashiv Author's Perspective
5 Minutes read

Customer Experience Driven Commerce

Digitization and other innovations are changing the fundamental of customers’ lives. Understanding these shifts can help you excel as business leaders and move forward.

E-commerce, for long, has been a battle between brands that was traditionally won with strategic pricing, discounts, and offers. But today, the changing customer preferences seek a lasting and rewarding relationship with the brand, which is changing the competitive landscape. Now the focus is on customers, creating unique, tailored experiences for them by using a strategy that acts as a key differentiator for their brand. But what does it mean to be focused on the experience? And what exactly is experience-driven commerce?

Experience-driven commerce is about providing your customer with an immersive, personalized experience spread across channels, and time that a customer passes through. It is about being with your customers throughout their buying journey, connecting with them emotionally, and making it a compelling personalized story for them. This can be understood with the example of a simple Starbucks run. Typically, you run into Starbucks to grab a coffee, but walk out with a smile, having just received a personal touch through a discount (based on your preferences and last purchase) and a cup with your name on it.

Experience-driven commerce is a warehouse of opportunities for businesses, that resides in data

Bring data out from silos and capitalize on the massive selling opportunity in the market by using power of communication across social media, ads, blogs, websites, magazines, physical stores, and more. This strategy pays off best when these factors combine: right tech strategy, understanding of customer behavior, and a change of organizational mindset.

A study by Deloitte states that 1 in 5 of these consumers would be willing to pay 20% more for a personalized or exclusive product. 48% of customers would be willing to wait longer for a customized product or service- These statistics tell us that the era of e-commerce has ended, and there is a dawn of experience-driven commerce that spans across digital channels and physical stores, for customers and businesses alike.

Following this call, organizations right from start-ups to big established names innovate their strategies and extend their product lines to engage customers, touch their hearts, and win lasting loyalty.

Nike’s 3-D sneaker-customization platform empowers the customers to build their own product in real-time, and take shareable snapshots of the finished product. This massively increased their popularity among buyers, who keep coming back for the products that they can fabricate.

Amazon pioneered Experience-driven commerce

Their secret sauce was Personalization

Amazon was the first brand to use data intelligence to gain insights into customers’ needs and use them to make legit recommendations to the buyers. They started by suggesting relevant and related choices, moving on to offer more items at the time of purchase that can be bundled with the current order. These recommendations are based on previous purchases and preferences of the customer.

We saw several other brands following the league and making this sophisticated technology a part of their strategy. However, Amazon continues to up its game, by launching Amazon Prime Wardrobe, where customers are required to fill a survey, and based on that they get recommendations.

Each brand needs to find their differentiator that treats each customer as unique. The only way you can outdo your competition is by adapting to the change and becoming ‘experimental’ to develop a unique personalization strategy.

It might not be easy to achieve, but it isn’t that difficult either:

  • Understand What a Customer is Seeking: It is no longer enough to know what the customer wants to purchase, it is also important to understand what is leading to that purchase. For instance, if somebody is looking for a type of skincare product for oily skin, you should be able to produce additional information/choices/options to the customer on the same topic. It enhances your chances of translating a search into the purchase.
  • Utilize Data in Real-Time: Real-time data, based on customer’s interaction with your brand across website visits, email opens and click-throughs, and social network will help you build customer personas and build your strategy on that. This leads to right content strategy, upselling and cross selling of products that offers your customer an experience that makes them come back to you.
  • Consistent experience across touchpoints: Omni-channel experience in other words, is about stitching with your customer through entire lifecycle of buying. This is what Sephora has been successfully pulling off.

    Sephora takes particular care of each individual customer through its smart app. Sephora’s app enables the customers to spot a store nearby, check for product availability at the store and also reserve a seat. Besides, it also provides product recommendations on the basis of the customer profile or even the ability to virtually try these products. With this strategy, they are building a new customer base and a hugely loyalty customers that choose them over its competitors.
  • Integrate online and Offline channels: Your digital and physical existence can no longer stay aloof. It is time they marry to offer a consolidated shopping experience to the customers. A customer should be allowed to browse your collection digitally and make a physical purchase by visiting the store. Your customer now needs a seamless integration of the two channels as they are no longer seen as two worlds separate from each other.

    Nike’s New York City Store has a compelling omni-channel experience to offer to its customers, led by their “personalized loyalty program”. Its members get personalized offers and benefits which have made this brand as among the favorites of NYC.

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End Note:

The Future is Now and e-Commerce is now Experience Commerce: The technology already exists; marketers no longer have to just dream about finding marketing solutions that combine their content with commerce. The desired systems that enable immersive shopping experiences, creation of cross-channel campaigns, and robust communication, are already on the pinnacle of sophistication.

Varun Kashiv Director, Customer Experience at Altudo

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