New Trend in Town: Powerful digital application experiences
by Sheetal Jaitly, CEO, TribalScale
There is a new trend in town. Your customers are valuing experience more than prices, products, even services. A mere click on the keyboard or swipe of a screen gives you — the business — a chance to know what your customers are expecting from you. You have the power to peer inside their minds and know what they’re searching for, what they want. Properly unleashing these insights will enable businesses to deliver superb experiences — ultimately creating the greatest value and a long-lasting relationship with your customers.
What should be your next marketing investment?
Today, data is the new currency. Businesses are striving to base their customer experience on the most current, authentic, trusted, and relevant data. Additionally, the job of CIOs is changing. Organizations are migrating their IT resources toward consumption-based hybrid cloud ecosystems. Consequently, there is immense digitization of products and services, increasing productivity by allowing workers to concentrate their efforts on value-added tasks. CIOs are no longer holding all the cards but sharing their responsibilities with digital and marketing staff.
Now, the digital experience (abbr. DX) stack is the fundamental backbone for technologies through which customers are interacting with business-to-business (B2B), business-to-customers (B2C), as well as business-to-employee (B2E) platforms today. Digital experience affects the journey of people interacting through it and offers technologies ranging from website purchasing, deliveries, work processes, and customer service. A study conducted by Sonja Kotrotsos revealed that consumers in the United States “are ready to spend 17% more, provided that the company they are trading with values customer experience.” When it comes to millennials, the study shows that they are willing to spend 21% more if the company offers them a great experience. (1) In other words, management of customer experience enshrines modern enterprise marketing, meaning that the management of customer experience is a wise marketing investment for enterprises.
Customer Journey Map is the new black
Let’s start with the beginning basics. Businesses ought to know the needs of their customers. I’m talking determining their specific touchpoints — the places where both the business and customer interact. This way, the business will be provided with an emphatic viewpoint of what happens behind the scenes regarding their customer base.
Scott Clark writes in an article for CMSWire that one important tool used by businesses to determine primary needs of the digital experience stack (I’ll get to that later), alongside the secondary needs for customers’ touchpoints, is the customer journey map. It offers a closer look at particular areas within the customer journey and where there are issues that need to be solved. Just like there are stages in a physical journey from one point to another, the same occurs in the customer journey. Defining these stages needs to happen. There are several facts from the article to note first, I’ll reiterate them here:
- The awareness of the need for a product, service, or solution to solve a problem;
- Considering or looking for a product, service, or solution;
- Making decisions or purchases on a particular product, service, or solution;
- The retention or customer loyalty to purchase from the business another time;
- After purchase behaviour like reviews, feedback, or advertising via word of mouth. (1)
All the stages within the customer journey are “facilitated by elements that build a digital experience stack (DX).”(1) Businesses are more aware of their various touchpoints that exist within a customer journey; it’s their responsibility to understand these touchpoints, put them together, and effectively apply their digital experience stack.
The Components of a Kick-ass Digital Experience Stack
Shoppers or consumers value experiences where they interact with consistency, speed, and personalization. Across these factors, content is considered as the common denominator of all. This implies that at the centre of the digital experience stack is a cutting edge content management system, which enables companies to tailor their experiences on all channels where shoppers interact with their brands.
Clark writes that “numerous components constitute a digital experience stack,” such as content management, personalization, and the capability to transit personalized information to multiple channels. The element of content management is created around ECM, CMS, or WCM (enterprise content management system, content management system, and web content management, respectively). These allow the organization to handle all the possible complexities of digital content management. Typically, here is where variance website elements like web pages, images, videos, etc., are handled.
Today, the majority of digital experience stacks apply AI-powered personalization engines that enable the analyses of feedback, behaviours, characteristics, and user preferences. A CDP — consumer data platform, is used as a personalization-enhancing element within the stack which is used to integrate customer data to make it available to different systems. This feature is critical as it enables businesses to build a wealthy and personalized customer journey. Using CDP enables retention of information — browsing behaviour, purchases, preferences — in the profile which spans the whole lifecycle of the customer.
Headless Technology: the new E-commerce facilitator
“Headless Technologies” is a new concept in the customer experience world. It’s simply a business strategy or program/architecture meant to dissociate the front-end experience from back-end information as well as functionality. Here, the functionality refers to the shopping experience plus the checkout processes. In the modern world of digital experience, a headless commerce solution comes as an integration of several technologies such as e-commerce software or a headless CMS. The content and product data can be pushed and pulled with the use of APIs to new front-ends, extending the shopping experience of the company of interest to modern channels, such as smart speakers and digital signage. With headless commerce, retailers have great freedom to tailor their shopping experience across different cutting-edge channels.
The first application of headless technologies was reported within the CMS space to deliver content to immensely growing touchpoints. Today, this approach is rapidly surging in the wide spectrum of the e-commerce industry. A recent study conducted by BigCommerce shows that a great number of merchants agree there is a rise in the costs of customer acquisition. 59% of this number believe that making improvements to digital experience is paramount. Consequently, the majority of global leading brands are migrating to headless technologies in a bid to re-energize their technology stack. According to David Friar, a Senior Solution Engineer at Cognifide, headless technologies is a drift from the misconception that the ecosystem of commerce should always be driven by inflexible e-commerce systems.(2) Instead, this approach is established on the philosophy that the application can handle a single task, and perform it well. Specialist tools are applied to generate specialist capabilities.
Its ability to swiftly adapt to changes in the market, including the emerging technologies, result in a dramatic impact on both the businesses and the customers. With the help of these technologies, retailers can easily adopt modern technologies such as voice assistants and smart and wearable gadgets, while using conventional channels like the internet, social networks, and SMS among others. Online traders can deliver a consistent shopping experience to their customers across numerous touchpoints. Generally, businesses adopting headless technologies can deliver rich narratives and smoothly interweave information with commerce throughout their customer journey.
For consumers, leveraging headless commerce translates to having several channels through which they can make purchases. The majority of shoppers value convenience now, and that means a pliable shopping experience that is smooth across various devices as well as touchpoints. Besides choosing where to interact with the business, there is an evolution of customer expectations in terms of wanting a business’s identity and even messaging to be consistent. With the help of headless technologies, retailers can comfortably integrate different channels into a single unified customer experience. It becomes easy for customers to shop on their own terms!
Why headless commerce is the new game in town
So why is the craze heightening for headless technologies? A multitude of businesses are adopting these solutions. Experts believe that the main reasons are to facilitate digital adaptability as well as the modernization of the tech stack. Headless technologies are renowned for giving brands the freedom to vividly respond to changes in the market so they can introduce innovations regarding customer experiences, without affecting their fundamental e-commerce ability.
Most importantly, headless commerce enables brands to adopt modern touchpoints without the requirement to redo everything else. In doing so, it provides industries with options for customer interaction, elevating the opportunity to build loyal consumers that create increased conversions. And what did I say earlier about customers valuing experience over everything else? Organizations looking to adopt headless technologies should have a clear knowledge of the exact opportunities as well as the cost of this approach. Finally, they should examine whether this approach would integrate well with the operations of the business and enable it to achieve its core objectives.
All this summarized…here’s my advice
As Clark states in his article, both the success and failure of enterprises are at stake when less than optimum DX solutions and vendors are applied, because that customer experience is currently riding on a DX stack. By choosing a proper-integrated digital experience suit, you are guaranteed a positive and personalized consumer experience through the journey and a loyal customer base that will facilitate your marketing needs. In this day and age, we should be tapping into what our customers want from us, and how today’s technologies and strategies help us do just that.
Sheetal is a passionate advocate for Digital Transformation and Global Innovation. He’s led multiple digital transformation initiatives with companies spanning all different industries, including entire re-designs and creations of digital user platforms. Besides being an avid investor and supporter of digital technology companies, Sheetal is a board member of Feed Ontario, a member of Tech4SickKids Council, DMZ, and TechStars Mentor.
TribalScale is a global innovation firm that helps enterprises adapt and thrive in the digital era. We transform teams and processes, build best-in-class digital products, and create disruptive startups. Learn more about us on our website. Connect with us on Twitter, LinkedIn & Facebook!