We are all well aware of what has happened since March, 2020. In fact Oxford could not describe the year in one word, instead the word of the year 2020 became a full blown report named Words of an Unprecedented Year. Words like COVID-19, lockdown, bushfire, black lives matter and social distancing made it into our daily vocabulary.
It’s obvious that our routine behaviours changed and we expect everything around us to also change for the better. We are getting used to having everything at our convenience with one click away:
- With WhatsApp or Facebook your loved ones are always connected
- Ordering that tasty fried dumplings on Uber Eats while watching your favourite TV shows on Netflix or Disney+
- Every other item you can imagine is on Amazon.com
Salesforce State of the Connected Customer highlights how the consumer behaviour changed during 2020.
Few matrix that stood out on the report:
We were quick to adopt digital forms of purchase and consumption. However, many businesses struggled to keep up with the high demand from consumers.
As organisations look to build the future, how can they ensure that consumers are always heard and meet where they are?
Proactive companies have started to deliver experiences wherever the consumer is: That could be on a website, native mobile app, social media feed, live stream video or audio shopping, newsletter or the traditional in-store shopping. The accelerated digital adoption means it’s no longer about website & mobile app as the sheer number of touch points for a customer has grown significantly.
Fluid Customer Experience
Customers are always on the move, constantly exploring new channels to get what they want. Omnichannel refers to delivering a consistent customer experience across multiple channels to meet your customers where they are. Omnichannel is not a fancy way of saying that you have multiple ways to communicate with a customer. Instead it focuses on distributing your services and communication via various channels through a consolidated view of your customer data and systems.
From a technology standpoint, to build an omnichannel experience organisations would need to have a connected view of every customer, from the moment a customer triggers an interaction on Facebook messenger to the physical store where they are picking up an item or returning for refund. This is not a simple solution to build as you will often hear customer data is isolated or systems are not interconnected.
Some of the most innovative organisations have already started on the journey of building a 360 view of their customers to provide consistent experiences across their portfolio of products. There is a growing trend towards adopting microservices architecture to expose data to multiple platforms. SaaS commerce platforms like Shopify and BigCommerce have already invested heavily in building their systems to be API first, which allows third-party developers to easily build Apps on top. With the help of these platforms we have seen many organisations transition to online business within hours instead of building and deploying services for many months.
One particular trend that I am excited for is headless architecture. The term ‘headless’ means there is no front-end (i.e. website or mobile app) and that the platform is back-end only (i.e. APIs and database). A headless CMS (Content Management System) is a back-end only CMS with features for building highly complex content structure without the need of writing any code. However, developers still have the ability to intercept APIs to build custom business rules. This form of architecture is allowing developers to rapidly build services that are capable of delivering content across any platform or devices via REST or GraphQL API.
There are an array of platforms that is enabling the transition to headless architecture. Two that stand out for me are Strapi & Hasura, a headless architecture with these two platforms could look something like this: