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Oct 16, 2019 | 3 minute read

Experience-driven commerce and its impact on B2B

written by [email protected]

In today’s digital commerce world, customer experience is the key differentiator and competitive basis between brands. Every experience a customer has with both your brand and a competitor will influence their final purchase, and as a result, any commerce offering needs a state-of-the-art solution to capture growth effectively. 

Great customer experiences are rooted in personalization, and the goal of “one experience per customer” through effective implementation of said personalization can transform B2B ecommerce solutions to deliver high ROI. Many aspects of experience-driven commerce, ranging from maintaining effective customer profiles and delivering relevant personal experiences, have the same weight in B2B as they do in B2C.

How do brands and businesses connect content, context and commerce?

One of the most popular and effective ways to combine content, context, and commerce is through a headless implementation. They bring together efficient platform functionality with the marketing flexibility of content driven sites, allowing your marketing team to update content and context without bogging them down in the technical aspects of your commerce offering. 

However, as a whole, regardless of specific implementation, careful optimization steered by a dedicated team of both marketing and technology stakeholders is an essential process in weaving together content, context, and commerce. This optimization process can be broken into five steps:

  1. Research
  2. Experimentation
  3. Content & Creative
  4. Execution
  5. Analysis

The process of research opens a team to review existing first party research and data to create personalization use cases. From then, experimenting by defining KPIs and building a roadmap is ideal to ensure a measurement approach. With that, the content & creative teams can step forward to determine requirements and run relevant tests before executing on said proposals. Finally, after the first round of operations, reviewing results and determining areas for strategic improvement can help the team align and execute.  

Necessary criteria  

Prior to executing an experience-driven strategy, commerce practitioners need to address some key criteria: 

Review the existing platform architecture - given that any excellent platform architecture is contingent on consensus building activity, any modifications must be made with care to marketing, content, technology, and business teams. Ensuring that your back end is maintained while yourfront-end receives a new coat of polish requires deliberate review of existing architecture to avoid incompatibility. 

Ability to build a “Personalization Factory” - Effective personalization programs require a robust content and creative engine to continuously address new experiments, audiences, and insight. It is vital to be able to automate your personalization so it can occur consistently without marketinginput. Developing strong KPIs, collecting customer data, and having the right technology and scalable content play key roles in marketing faster at a lower cost.

Harmony between technology andmarketing - Make sure that your technology provider is able to work as an advisor to marketing leaders and guide them through the process. It is not enough for these deliverables to only be understood by the CIO and CTO organizations - a good partner willbe able to transform these complex derivatives into real world examples and be a trusted advisor to marketing for all important decisions. 

The Dos and Do Nots

Do manage and leverage customer data properly - many businesses have expansive data at their access, but fail in activating it effectively due to a difficulty in analyzing it. These challenges can manifest in having disjointed customer data, existing in many areas but left unconnected, inability to activate owned data in real time, and difficulty in determining user identity across digital channels.

Don’t solely rely on the halo effect to drive bottom-line sales. Glossy campaigns can boast powerful product pages, but they also lead to notable disconnect between your marketing content and the final product. Your ecommerce offering can’t inherently prove ROI of content creation, and thus it can be difficult to augment an ongoing campaign with new data metrics and analysis. Beyond content is context, and personalization can be a far more effective way to have technology bolster your ROI over aesthetics.