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The Evolution of Ecommerce

Jon Feldman, senior manager of product marketing at Salesforce, discusses the tactics companies are using to build more cohesive customer journeys across an increasingly dispersed ecommerce ecosystem.

Businesses are always looking for the most effective strategies and tactics to create the best customer experience possible, and in the world of ecommerce, that’s getting harder every day. We wanted to dig into some of the trendiest ways ecommerce brands are weaving their way through this maze, so we invited our good friend Jon Feldman on an episode of Up Next in Commerce to show us the way.

As a senior manager of product marketing at Salesforce, and someone who talks to commerce business owners and operators on a daily basis, Feldman knows a thing or two about what’s on their minds, the challenges they face, and the questions they are dying to get answers to. He’s also seen first-hand what kinds of major and minor changes ecommerce companies are making that have had the biggest impact.

So how are small website tweaks having a ripple effect on call centers? What will happen to the customer journey as commerce moves to the edge? And what kinds of technology and platforms will brands need to lean on to win across a new ecommerce landscape?

Feldman believes that it’s time to start understanding where ecommerce is actually taking place.

“Originally, a lot of commerce happened at a retail building — you owned the customers that were in your store, no distractions, ready to go,” Feldman said. “And then a lot of stuff moved online and customers gravitated toward your website, where you could still have a very curated experience and it could still be on your terms. I think that as I look forward, we’re going to see more shopping on the edge, which is where products are going to be more deeply integrated at the content sites or in marketplaces, or you’re going to be finding places to shop which are not the traditional website. And I think that then becomes a really big customer loyalty question of, if I’m on a content site and I see an ad for Home Depot, do I trust that it’s really Home Depot? Do I believe Home Depot is going to fulfill?”

Customer loyalty is one of the most important things that Feldman sees companies focused on now, and it will be what drives them to create incredible customer experiences moving forward. As brands lose control of how customers find and buy their products, creating a highly-trafficked brand website becomes less important than meeting customers where they are and providing them with a good user experience.

That means brands need to focus on how they interact with customers when they engage with the brand, wherever that may be. Every aspect of the customer journey from the moment they first engage needs to be tailored and optimized in order to create an experience that makes them want to come back again.

“I think really what you’re looking at are ways that you can 100% of the time know who you’re talking to as a company and identify your customer,” Feldman said. “And specifically what that means to customer journeys is that means that when you start with a marketing campaign, that whatever that messaging and whatever you know about them is then reflected in the commerce campaign, is reflected in the order management, and then all the way through to the service. So a customer experience at that point is actually the experience of the totality of interacting with your brand, of discovering it, transacting with it, and then enjoying the product or whatever is after it.”

From a technology standpoint, what will it look like to build that kind of customer experience? What platforms will rise to the top? Turns out, that’s not the right question to ask.

“There’s an argument today that commerce tools on their own are commoditized,” Feldman said. “At the end of the day, you can build whatever you need with any of the major packages from just a pure commerce standpoint. And so I think the question becomes, what are the tools that are going to help you have a complete customer journey because you’re going to be losing control of the specific place that you’re going to meet your customer, so how do you continue to build journeys that are amazing anywhere? That’s really where I think we’re going right now.”

To hear more about what is ahead in the world of ecommerce, tune in to Up Next in Commerce, here.

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