People are buying differently. Plain and simple.
With digital now a mainstay in their everyday lives, today’s customers have grown to expect fast, frictionless shopping experiences every time they interact with a brand. Whether that be filtering for a product or updating their cart, the ability to govern the commerce experience on their own terms is paramount to success. They are connected, conscious, and in-control.
Of course, none of this information is anything new for marketers. In fact the industry has quickly adapted in response to this change in audience behavior. Google has done it. Facebook has done it. And now, with their recent acquisition of Magento, Adobe has offered B2B and B2C companies a way to deliver seamless, end-to-end shopping experiences across the entire customer journey.
This shift is known as distributed commerce—providing purchasing opportunities that can take place across any channel and any platform, based solely on when a customer is ready to buy. For digitally-savvy marketers, the growth of distributed commerce opens up a wave of new possibilities.
For years, businesses have struggled to close the loop on their targeted advertising efforts. Even with great audience analytics, delivering personalized customer experiences has been mostly guesswork due to data siloes between technology platforms and marketing channels, creating roadblocks for marketers attempting to prove attribution and capitalize on advertising opportunities.
With companies like Adobe now offering eCommerce as part of their integrated technology stack, brands can apply mature API frameworks to integrate eCommerce platforms with CRMs, DMPs, and other data platforms that connect shopping data with browsing data from their other digital channels. This allows marketers to utilize personal identifiable information (PII) to deliver high-value content experiences, automate campaign messaging, and most importantly actualize on cross-platform data to refine those experiences at the customer-level.
Microexperiences for B2B and B2C Customers
By leveraging these new technology integrations, digitally-savvy marketers can also combine customer profiles with business logic to deliver optimal, micro-focused shopping experiences to individual users based on their contextual data.
For example, let’s say you are an industrial manufacturer that provides water treatment solutions for residential and commercial customers. With distinct lines of business for B2C and B2B audiences, it’s important to deliver contextual content that’s relevant to that individual customer’s needs. Depending on who the customer is and their familiarity with your brand, an optimal commerce experience may look something like this:
Customer A – Residential Pool Owner
- Prospective buyer
- No previous web history
- Less technical text
- Overview videos on pool ownership
- Maintenance best practices
- Customer reviews
- Interactive assessments on best products to buy
Customer B – Commercial Spa Owner
- Repeat buyer
- Frequent web visitor
- Confirmed company association
- Technical copy
- Special promotions on previously viewed items
- Notifications on when to buy a new filter
In each of these scenarios, marketers can utilize customer-level analytics to deliver automated content experience that’s strategically built for that individual user and deploy it at any channel across the marketing landscape. This creates endless opportunities for B2C and B2B businesses alike to better target audience segments and motivate them toward conversion.
Moving Beyond the Shopping Cart
Imagine for a moment the ability to create purchasing opportunities at any point in your customer’s decision-making journey. By leveraging distributed commerce, marketers don’t have to settle for driving users to an ecommerce site, but instead deliver shopping experiences within the actual out-bound marketing context.
With distributed commerce, shopping can happen anywhere. Email, mobile, social, brick and mortar, even voice recognition—using cloud technology to connect these seemingly distinct marketing moments and deliver compelling, personalized content is what will ultimately separate successful brands from the rest of the pack.
The marketing holy grail has always been—and continues to be—delivering precision-targeted content that prompts customers to take action right then and there. As distributed commerce continues to evolve, businesses might finally get what they’ve been searching for.