Disconnected Customer Experiences are Fraught with Friction


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CONTRIBUTED BY

  • Glenn Conradt Vice President, Global Marketing and North America
  • May 13, 2014

Digital marketing and e-Commerce teams have traditionally worked on separate missions. Marketers have been focused on creating higher engagement with the brand and e-Commerce teams have had laser vision on product sell-through and revenues. Unfortunately, the variation in experiences can be so abrupt that customers end up confused and not at all pleased with the friction.      

Inconsistencies that can result from “two-site syndrome” that manifests a bit like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde between the .com experience and the shopping experience are usually due to context vs. function. Consider the glossy magazine-type experience that marketers produce to romance customers to the functional, dry and inflexible catalog experience customers encounter when they decide to buy.

There’s no doubt that a compelling and consistent customer experience is a competitive advantage. In fact, the customer experience may be one of the last and most appealing ways to differentiate a brand in the marketplace. Unfortunately, most companies’ content and digital technology doesn’t empower the optimization of experiences and brand consistency to improve relevance, revenue and profits.

Removing the Friction

What’s needed is a way to competently sync and manage digital customer experiences across channels and devices to build engagement that directly contributes to revenue generation.

If only it were as simple as optimizing the technology that is already in place. Customer preferences are challenging marketers and e-Commerce teams to transform the experiences they offer, but technology is often the culprit compounding the complexity of the problem.

To transform customer experiences, companies need to think differently about how they approach technology. It’s a given that the volume of content is increasing. The use of dynamic content based on the context of the customer will need to be addressed to provide the personalization needed for smoothing channel progression and eliminating the confusion and friction that cause abandoned carts.

Responding faster — closer to real time — based on customer behavior also requires a certain level of independence from the IT group. As marketers and e-Commerce teams become more adept at identifying online opportunities, they need the capability to act more quickly to facilitate better experiences that pay off.

Of course, change is never easy and managing the effort to unify the customers’ shopping and brand experiences will require a concerted effort. Making this easier are collaboration and workflow tools that expand visibility to teams that will now work effectively together, rather than in silos. Restructuring for centralized control, while allowing for local autonomy, is also conducive to faster adaptation to change.

The Need for a Single, Compelling Destination

Bringing together Web Content Management (WCM) and e-Commerce platforms will help eliminate the friction through integration that allows both marketers and eBusiness teams to achieve their goals in concert. A single destination will create unity for engagement and product content that results in a more contextually relevant and compelling experience for your customers. Orchestrating the progression between the discover, explore, and buy stages will help both customers and companies to meet their objectives — without undue friction that can derail efforts on both sides.

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