In our recent interview with Alex Hamilton, Head of Insight at Isobar UK, we discussed how brands can stay ahead of the curve when creating digital experiences, how brands can improve their experience commerce strategy and the opportunities provided by Headless Commerce — taken from Isobar’s latest Headless Commerce white paper.
The digital landscape is evolving at a rapid pace. How can brands stay ahead of the curve when it comes to digital experience?
Firstly, there is a polarisation in customer experience. For instance, we have brands that are offering super-fast, frictionless experiences like ASOS and Amazon, and consumers are really responding to that service as they love the “get me my product now” element.
Then you have brands on the other end of the spectrum who are focused on immersive digital experiences and as consumers we buy into those brands too.
Anything mid-market is struggling.
But, to truly stay ahead of the curve and achieve sustainable business growth, brands need to deliver experiences through three key pillars: emotional, functional and tangible. If a brand experience is weighted towards the emotional pillar, it will be immersive. If it’s weighted towards functional, it will be a convenient experience, and weighted towards tangible, the experience will be connected. But brands need to successfully deliver in all three areas to create a superior digital experience to stay ahead of the curve.
Isobar recently published a white paper on Headless Commerce. What opportunities does Headless Commerce provide brands?
The Headless Commerce approach allows brands to deliver a truly customer-centric experience at speed and scale by essentially separating the back-end technology from the front-end. It allows brands to respond to customers in terms of what they want from a digital experience very quickly, which is a big opportunity for brands.
Typically, when a brand has an ecommerce website, you are rolling out regular updates. The process may start at the beginning of the month, but then won’t be released until the end of that month. With the Headless Commerce approach, it allows brands to make those updates much quicker.
In today’s experience economy, why is it key for brands to have a centralised view of customer data?
The number of channels in which brands can communicate to customers is growing. Previously, a brand would just have a physical store, now they have a physical store, ecommerce site, mobile, tablet, voice and social, so the path to purchase is now extremely disjointed. Therefore, it’s extremely important for brands to be able to collect this data across multiple touchpoints in one place, and have a centralised understanding of their customers’ user journeys. Secondly, it’s important to have the right people in the business to interpret that data and take action on it.
Ecommerce strategies have gone from a single-channel approach, through to an omni-channel approach. What’s next?
Omni-channel is a word that’s still used now but I believe it’s a dead word. Unified commerce is the next step, where the consumer is at the centre of a brand, and can seamlessly experience that brand across an ecosystem of touchpoints. But for a brand, it’s about understanding where your customer is shopping across all the different channels and being able to offer those customers the right message at the right time, and having the technology infrastructure to allow you to do that. That’s where the Headless Commerce approach comes in.
What advice would you give to a brand wanting to improve their experience commerce strategy?
The two key things about experiences is ease of navigation and speed. As a brand you want to attract people to your website for example, and for them to transact as quickly as possible. This comes to down the technical infrastructure enabling you to achieve this, the user experience (UX) and site speed. As marketers, we need to realise that consumers aren’t willing to wait 10+ seconds for a website to load on mobile, then spend time finding what’s relevant to them. A way to achieve a great web experience across devices is through a Progressive Web App (PWA).
Can you share an example when Isobar has used the Headless Commerce approach successfully for a client?
A great example of using the Headless Commerce approach is the Progressive Web App (PWA(we launched for Asda George.
PWAs eliminate friction by using the web to deliver app-level experiences. There’s no need for consumers to find apps in the app store and install them, therefore — they can just navigate to the site on any browser, including Chrome and Safari. With this new PWA the website page load time for Asda George shoppers was reduced by 3.8x times, a 31% increase in conversion was recorded and page views per visit jumped 20%. Along with those results the homepage loading time was almost half compared to Amazon’s, so overall the results were fantastic!
We’re continuing to work with Asda George on their mobile-first journey, with a focus speed and ease, to simplify the customer shopping experience as much as we can.
For more information on the launch, click here.
Finally, how does creativity impact a brand’s ecommerce strategy?
Creativity is key, a lot of brands and their ecommerce teams think in a very siloed way, so it’s important for agencies to shake up their thinking to be more creative and innovative. This means using creativity to unlock the potential of new technologies.
It’s important that commerce isn’t only seen as website and mobile site. It’s voice, AR, lots of new emerging technologies, so it’s important for us to talk to brands and educate them on how they can successfully use new technologies, and how they can be a part of their ecommerce strategy.
In the future, I believe that the idea of navigating through a website by clicking lots of buttons will be redundant. It will be a combination of chatbots, voice and instant messaging. That’s why for us as creatives we need to begin to come up with ideas to future proof our clients’ businesses.