The Perfect Commerce Strategy
When two opportunities attract.
There are two ways of looking at the capacities that a Commerce Platform has to offer. One is technically, another experientially.
Technically, a store is seen as a set of interconnected steps that serve a user in the so called Shopping Process.
Experientially, a store is seen as a User Interfacing layer that serves a Human need to communicate.
Most, if not all, Commerce solutions, products and platforms see things from a technical angle only. This explains why up to now, there isn’t a single Commerce Solution that has successfully solved through a technology only approach what Commerce demands.
Technical mindsets give little to no space to the perceptual side of the problem, and therefore ignore that is not what a Commerce feature does but the way it does it. The way it is presented, the way the person perceives it.
However, Commerce is not merely a technical challenge, it’s a combination of technology and experiences; opposites that need to be believed both true.
Seeing Commerce in this light, as Experience and Technology in One, functions like a key that unlocks a wealth of differentiation.
As in William Blake’s painting from The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (1827) which makes beautiful associations between two opposites, yet at the same time uniting them; Heaven reason and Hell as creativity.
It is the convergence of opposites to make a complete whole. And, it is in this light we must see Commerce, and only then we can realise that taking the lead in Commerce has another angle, a much more powerful path for differentiation and irresistibility.
The purpose of Commerce is not Conversion but Connection. The considered and rational logic of Conversion (% of visits that buy) as a Positive dominates rational solutions over creative ones, maximising existing ideas and processes as opposed to creating new cycles and opportunities.
Conversion ensures that all rational steps that build the so called Online-Shopping-Process function are followed, that there are no broken steps within it, but it does not measure whether an Online Store connects with its consumers.
A Converting visit might have gone through hell (driven by high commitment) and the act of purchase does not imply (with the same degree of certainty) success, but necessity.
Equally, a non-Converting visit might have had the most amazing and memorable experience, potentially establishing a unique connection to the Store and Brand and yet, the common wisdom goes as counting it as a Negative visit.
The purpose of commece is to make people feel good, to understand and empathise with the User behind every action, to deliver a memorable and irresistible experience that is unique to each store’s identity, to serve pleasant responses, to connect with the user’s drive, needs and wants, to make People feel understood. The more the Store connects with People, the better the conditions for Conversion and Revenue.
Succeeding in Commerce demands, of course, a powerful technical solution with a rich feature set within a reliable, versatile and scalable architecture, but Commerce will not be solved by technology and logic alone.
It needs to be about People and Data, and it that order. Another common rational misconception is to believe that the Data sent to a User is all that matters as opposed the way this Data is perceived.
Results sorting, scoring, personalisation or whatever other logic, are not about what results themselves are — what Data is returned, but about the way the Human Being perceives these results. The How is as important as the What.
Most Commerce Solutions and tools consider Users as Objects and it is through this misinterpretation that Subjects (People) are assumed to operate through direct and rational causality (if you have seen this, and clicked on that, then…). This rationalises Human Beings’ reasoning complexities with the linearity that one can associate to objects, not individuals for whom Context and derived feelings are much more significant and memorable than Data.
Together and unified, joyful Experiences and powerful Technology can solve Commerce. A twofold vision with a twofold solution that establishes meaningful associations between the features and their perception, between technology and design, giving shape to software, form to algorithms, expression to the engineering inside and connection with the person outside.
Exalting features and functioning over every other capacity and ignoring the Human drive does not solve the problem and places the emphasis in the wrong place, while thinking of Commerce as a Human & Technical challenge creates irresistible deliverables.
These two visions -Experience and Technology- should not be seen in dispute. Of course a Store needs function, but it also needs to deliver beyond and into the panache of memorable and connecting experiences, these two visions shall be united, as ONE.
Opt, uncompromisingly, for a twofold vision, single vision is deadly.