In commerce, the conversion is the Holy Grail. The moment when customer contact becomes a sale, and tips over to meaningful relationships, ideally long-lasting.
It’s an elusive goal, though not for lack of data, which is everywhere and ever-changing. The key is to leverage all that data along different touchpoints in the consumer lifecycle, to create meaningful and frictionless experiences for the consumer, online and offline.
The playing field may seem a bit unequal, as Amazon and other large firms tend to have all that data at their corporate fingertips. They also have the machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI)-driven means with which to digest and synthesize that data into meaningful insights.
In a bid to give enterprises the ability to make commerce a bit more agile, Adobe is announcing today (Oct. 9) that it is integrating Magento Commerce Cloud into Adobe Experience Cloud, and at the same time is updating the Magento platform.
Adobe acquired Magento earlier this year.
Taken together, the integration and the update announced Tuesday will also, out of the gate, boost small and mid-sized business (SMB) efforts to tackle multi-channel avenues of commerce.
The result, as Mark Lavelle, senior vice president of commerce at Adobe and former Magento CEO, told Karen Webster, is to make every stage of the customer experience a shoppable one.
Writ large, said Lavelle, “the vision is that the next enterprise platform will be an experience-driven platform” — and not necessarily a financial platform or ERP offering, as has been seen in the past. Traditionally, companies large and small have taken an a la carte approach to underpinning different business functions with technology.
Lavelle told Webster that the Adobe Experience Cloud now ultimately will become a platform “that can track your customer from the moment they want to engage with you as a brand, to when they are loyal customers buying from you and interacting with you all the time.”
Certainly the Adobe Experience has breadth and scale with enterprise clients, he said, as there are 233 trillion data transactions that cross the platform on an annual basis – spanning media requests, emails and ad spend. Magento, he said, handles $155 billion in transactions annually for their own clients.
The continuum spanning content management, personalization and analytics solutions will let enterprises “think about data end to end,” Lavelle said, “and what can be done to drive better experiences when they are on that [integrated] platform.” All too often, he noted, companies ranging from SMBs to even larger joint customers of Adobe/Magento — like Coca Cola, Nestlé and Kohl’s — have thought about commerce, payments and marketing separately.
Such siloed mindsets are less than optimal, maintained Lavelle. He noted to Webster that with the proliferation of channels such as Pinterest, commerce has to be engaging and personalized – “and everything has to be thoughtful,” he said. “It’s no longer that you can have a branded experience and then lose that customer. You have to be able to have that customer transact with you right away.”
Adding Magento’s Commerce Cloud to the mix — where marketing, analytics and advertising offerings have already been integrated — will bring a full contextual experience to the customer, and give merchants the chance to be innovative when it comes to engaging with those consumers, building a loyal relationship from the start. Consider, Lavelle said, the scenario where in creating the customer experience, a merchant is processing photos with Adobe, developing marketing collateral, while accessing the advertising cloud — all the while testing and personalizing such outreach with the aid of the analytics offerings.
“As you consider the funnel,” of the shopping experience, he told Webster, “you go from discovery to consideration and then through conversion. When you actually sign the customer up for a service or sell them something, that is where commerce comes in.” Thus, he said, enterprises have the ability to buy inventory and manage orders, pricing and promotions, reacting with speed to consumers’ shifting desires. Data has value, but only if unlocked, and Lavelle maintained that leveraging deep insights with speed can improve the commerce experience itself.
The SMB Boon
The latest release of the Magento platform also gives firepower to smaller firms as they seek to straddle the online and offline commerce realms – of strategic importance in the age of the Amazon effect, of course.
Lavelle stated that such new features, where companies can expand their cross-channel efforts, take omnichannel capabilities and “democratize them downstream” as SMBs “get scale and data that they themselves cannot get in their own design.” After all, it’s far from cheap to recruit and hire a team of data scientists, much less give them the data they need to parse.
Smaller merchants are now able to create site content, boost mobile presence and fulfill transactions across different channels.
The integration of such soup-to-nuts efforts to bring initial consumer contacts to, ultimately, conversion represents a trend, said Lavelle.
“In five years, I think you will have advertising and branding content campaigns being developed in a very rapid, automated way,” he told PYMNTS. “Not just how to format these campaigns, but which ones are going to work better.”