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Feb 27, 2024 | 6 minute read

eCommerce Innovation is Changing: Is Your Brand Keeping Up?

written by Seamus Roddy

If you believe that commerce innovation has to entail a wholesale overhaul of your commerce architecture and platform, you’re likely falling behind your competitors.

That’s because commerce innovation is changing. Once, a big bang, all-at-once approach to innovation ruled the commerce world. Now, brands are making targeted investments and getting real value from a modular, piece-by-piece approach we call Unplatforming™.

As you take stock of your brand’s ability to offer elevated, revenue-boosting commerce experiences, consider the following guidelines. You’ll see that beating your competitors’ commerce experiences is possible – as long as you get started soon.

The New Rules for eCommerce Innovation

  1. Starting small beats not starting at all
  2. ROI-positive commerce investment a must
  3. Testing, testing, and more testing is imperative
  4. 1:1 personalization – nothing less – is what fuels extraordinary shopping experiences
  5. If it’s not scalable, it’s not truly innovative

eCommerce Innovation Rule #1: Starting small beats not starting at all

The number one guideline we give brands who want to elevate their commerce experiences: you don’t have to make every change you have in mind right now, but you can’t afford to do nothing.

It’s a matter of time to value. If you keep pushing out innovation that would improve your commerce experiences, you lose out on revenue and fall behind your competitors. Then, when you finally do start making changes, it takes longer and costs more money to implement them. Missing out on revenue now, putting your business on the hook for more spending later – it’s enough to tie a knot in the stomach of anybody responsible for driving online revenue.

Innovating doesn’t have to be overwhelming or intimidating, and it shouldn’t be delayed. Maybe it’s a dedicated landing page for a new product or a single turn-key, or a single turn-key, online store for a specific product line or geography – choose one or two targeted innovation initiatives in the next 90 days and start on them as soon as possible.

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eCommerce Innovation Rule #2: ROI-positive commerce investment is a must

We talk to leaders at brands big and small every day, and what we hear over and over is that they want to launch experiences that serve customers throughout their entire lifecycle. We also hear that today, getting budgeted dollars means proving that what you’re doing will be ROI-positive.

It makes sense. In today’s market, growth at all costs has been replaced by growth that improves profit margins. If you position commerce innovation as an expensive, pie-in-the-sky endeavor that could attract and retain customers, your boss or CEO or leadership is going to say, no thanks.

Instead, tie initiatives like one-click checkout or product-dedicated landing pages or dynamic bundles to real, ROI-positive metrics. Focus on eliminating costly development work, sparing your IT team an avalanche of work, and empowering marketers and merchandisers to drive revenue fast.

eCommerce Innovation Rule #3: Testing, testing, and more testing is imperative

Once you commit to an iterative, ROI-positive approach to commerce innovation, you have to:

  1. Evaluate whether your innovation initiatives are working
  2. Get resources from your organization to put more new commerce experiences in action

Both require testing, testing, and more testing.

A/B test elements of your commerce-enabled landing pages and the CTAs on your online store. Test whether product bundling or a new integration is boosting AOV and UPT. Test in specific business lines or a new geography. Test, test, test some more, and then look at the results and invest more in the experiences that are driving real results.

Consistent testing helps reduce the risk of introducing new commerce experiences. You’re pursuing innovation based on real data, not gut instinct. And you aren’t making a gamble or a bet – you’re making an investment that you feel confident will boost your business.

eCommerce Innovation Rule #4: 1:1 personalization – nothing less – is what fuels extraordinary shopping experiences

If you’re personalizing only for personas on audiences, you aren’t doing everything you can to fuel the best possible shopping experiences.

Pursuing commerce innovation means working towards 1:1 engagement that speaks to customers’ personal interests. With 1:1 eCommerce personalization, your brand can…

  • Drive conversion rates with conditional content displays
  • Offer unique clienteling offers and product recommendations
  • Use bespoke social influencer experiences to drive efficiency
  • Serve conditional content based on a consumer’s behavior and preferences

This level of personalization requires first-party data, which is available to all brands – not just those with massive budgets and dedicated data teams – through our integration with Twilio Segment.

eCommerce Innovation Rule #5: If it’s not scalable, it’s not truly innovative

One of our customers recently told us, “we don’t want to create standalone islands. The commerce experiences we launch have to be scalable.”

That sentiment sums up the state of commerce innovation today. You aren’t launching a new commerce experience just to say you did it, or innovating just once and calling it a good year. The investments you make and experiences you pursue are likely to start modestly and expand over time once you’ve established that they work. Any commerce provider you work with should be committed to helping you innovate fast, and also capable of giving you tools that grow with your business.

That’s how we approach innovation at Elastic Path. Our family of composable products – combined with our no-code, instant-on integrations with best-of-breed vendors – help you make commerce progress fast and expand new initiatives in the months and years to come. Identify a business problem and we’ll help you solve it. Then it’s on to the next initiative, then the one after that. Over time, you’ll offer exceptional shopping experiences, outclass your competitors, win new customers, and earn more from your buyers than you previously thought possible.

Ready to innovate? Talk with one of our commerce experts today so we can learn about your unique commerce needs.

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