When was the last time you reviewed your ecommerce platform? Is it working perfectly for you, or are you just getting by based on its limitations and particular foibles?
Does your current ecommerce software meet the needs of today’s consumers, and your needs as a retailer? These are important questions to ask and answer – and there’s no better time to start.
Externally, retailers today face a number of challenges, from increased competition and ever-decreasing margins to, most importantly, changing customer expectations, where just one wrong thing can be the difference between a customer gained and a customer lost.
Internally, there are yet more battles and obstacles. Even within the same organisation, you can often find different content management systems, CRM systems, and ecommerce platforms, especially where one territory – fed up with delays and long decision-making processes at a central, global level – has decided to strike out alone in order to fulfil customer needs and business objectives.
All these challenges, and the list is by no means exhaustive, mean that a retailer’s choice of ecommerce platform is crucial to short-term and long-term success. What might have worked for you yesterday, may not work for you tomorrow.
It is therefore vital that retailers have the right tools, the right technology, and the right teams in place to succeed at ecommerce. This is even more important for retailers which run ecommerce operations across or for multiple brands, where unique propositions, visual design, branding, content, and images are not only necessary, but expected.
In a competitive retail landscape, companies that can build unique selling propositions with significant differentiation are better positioned to succeed. To ensure success, these firms also need the right tools, technology, support teams, and executive backing. 5 Key Success Factors for Every Digital Business, Forrester
The future of ecommerce
Retail brands that realise they need a digital experience ecommerce platform that can tackle the complexities of delivering individually personalised experiences, whilst managing large volumes of product-related and visually appealing content, and allowing product information management across multiple brands and websites, will be the ones that differentiate themselves in the market and win and keep customers.
Predictive personalisation uses machine learning to dynamically display the most relevant content to each website visitor.
Unlike rules-based personalisation, predictive personalisation displays relevant content and messages to users based on their assumed intent, using the massive amounts of data collected from each and every customer, rather than based on known interests or historical browsing behaviour.
Amazon, Netflix, and Spotify are the famous examples of brands already successfully using predictive personalisation, and much of their customer’s behaviour and actions are driven by their personalisation engines. These are the brands your organisation is competing against in the minds of the consumer.
Predictive personalisation will be one of the mainstays of ecommerce in the future.
Not only does the capability to test scenarios faster, make decisions quickly and automatically, reduce both risk and cost, it allows teams the ability to spend time coming up with more relevant customer-centric and engaging ideas that will drive even better results.
If you’re current ecommerce platform doesn’t give you predictive personalisation, then it’s time to find one that does. It will help boost conversion rates, make the personalisation more accurate, and lead to more engaged, loyal customers.
The ability to measure the right things
In the digital world today, vanity website metrics such as page views, session duration, and bounce rates, are becoming less relevant.
What is important is having the ability to measure all the actions your website visitors take that lead to conversion, and the engagement customers have with different elements of your website, whether that be certain pages, sections of pages, and specific content.
Being able to measure these metrics, building up a picture of your customers, and what content influences their decision to make a purchase, is vital.
Retailers need an ecommerce platform that does all this, and allows you to bring in external data from your CRM system, offline activities, and more. Only then will you be able to offer a complete, individualised experience to every single one of your customers.
Connected commerce experience
To cope with consumer demand and provide a seamless shopping experience, retail organisations need a single platform to manage every aspect of the ecommerce experience, to include content management, product information, a content hub, order management, marketing efforts, and omni-channel delivery.
Investing in an ecommerce experience platform which tracks the right metrics, gives you the right ecommerce tools, provides you with actionable insights – in real-time – to improve content, copy, and optimisation efforts across every channel, will mean online retailers can test, target, and automate at all points in the customer journey, helping to drive conversions and increase revenue.
By having the right ecommerce platform and content management solution, with a database that allows you to act on all relevant customer information in one go, and with the right personalisation and marketing automation tools in place, your brand can start to create and deliver content in context, at the right time, in the right place, on the right device.
Presenting your customers with relevant and personalised content has been proven to create deeper relationships between brands and customers, and the link between a better customer experience, improved conversion rates, and ultimately more revenue, has been widely reported.
And it all starts with the right, fully-connected, ecommerce platform – one that’s built for the ecommerce landscape of today and tomorrow.
Introducing Sitecore Experience Commerce
Sitecore Experience Commerce is a powerful and extensible ecommerce solution that combines and centralises your data, content, and commerce tools, enabling your organisation to meet your ecommerce demands, and allowing you to evolve and grow with your customers.
Here’s what you get at a glance, all with the power of the Sitecore Experience Platform, the world’s leading digital experience platform software:
- Complete all-in-one ecommerce solution: Manage all the core components of your ecommerce operations – from product catalogues and pricing, to orders, inventory, and customers – with Sitecore Experience Commerce.
- Flexible and extensible content management: Manage all your ecommerce sites in one place, build pages with an easy-to-use WYSIWYG editor, create and manage multiple storefronts in multiple languages, use and re-use pre-built components for ease of development and faster time-to-market.
- Centralised content: Create and manage all your content in once place for richer and more relevant experiences.
- Multi-language support: Support for multi-language ecommerce stores allows your content editors to manage all tasks and content in one place, with built-in integrations to translation services to streamline and speed up workflow.
- Dynamic content and predictive personalisation: Pre-built personalisation rules determined by visitor profile, past purchases, location, browsing behaviour, and shopping cart content, as well as predictive personalisation, keep your ecommerce site individually relevant and engaging, with each piece of content assigned to one or multiple personas or browsing interests to further drive conversions. Includes real-time detection of profile and behaviour of visitors, cross-channel and cross-session personalisation for known and unknown visitors, with personalised content, promotions, products, and layouts.
- Powerful measurement and reporting dashboard: Quickly ascertain insightful data on ecommerce operations and optimise them for better results. Track and capture customer online browsing and shopping behaviour, product engagement level, and customer actions, and make use of Engagement Value metrics – as people engage with different pages and parts of your ecommerce store, their points go up, revealing where they’re at in their buying journey.
- A/B and multivariate testing: Integrated capabilities to design and execute A/B and multivariate testing across email and web content to allow your ecommerce team to determine the most effective messaging and design in driving customer conversions.
- Detailed customer profiles: Store customers' past purchases, from online or offline channels, as well as known affinities to brands or categories, and enrich it with data from related external sources to develop strong customer relationships.
- Lots of built-in campaign capabilities: Drive customer loyalty with attractive promotions, such as offers surrounding a new product launch, seasonal promotions, or a newsletter registration drive, and with built-in campaigns to up-sell and cross-sell to loyal and engaged customers. Minimise shopping basket abandonment and retain custom with an always-on remarketing campaign to engage customers and visitors.
- Easy-to-use, global catalogue management: Easily create catalogues, and add SKUs to multiple catalogues, categories, and inventory sets, and manage all product variations, in different languages and currencies.
- Categorise, bundle, and link products: Set hierarchies and relationships between categories and products for ease of cross-sell promotion or substitution. Create flexible product bundles to drive a higher average order value and increase margins.
- Robust order management: Manage order payment and fulfilment options, and set delivery and shipping options. Customer services teams can quickly and easily view, edit, and update every customer order, including order placement dates, amounts, payment types, payments pending, as well as being able to process pre-orders and returns.
Want to learn more?
Read more about Sitecore Experience Commerce and check out our award-winning ecommerce work for wagamama.
Sitecore Experience Commerce is perfect for you, if you’re either:
- An online retailer who wants to offer your customers personalised customer experiences
- A manufacturer with multiple brands looking to have a closer relationship with your customers
- A B2B brand looking to start ecommerce operations and sell direct to consumer
Whether you're just starting out and looking for a platform for your new ecommerce website, or you have an established ecommerce operation but want some experienced eyes to take a look at your current operation, or whether you’ve already decided to re-platform to make every customer experience more personalised, we can help.
Whatever your ecommerce requirement, just get in touch.