March 31, 2020
As COVID-19 changes everything about life and work, digital commerce is becoming the only way business can be done for thousands of companies around the world.
That has industries that have historically relied on in-person selling and customer interactions – including restaurants, retail stores, and wholesalers – scrambling to go all-digital, modernizing and optimizing their operations to support customers.
In fact, companies of all sizes have an opportunity to engage existing customers and reach new ones by making every interaction a shoppable experience. The idea that people "buy experiences, not products" can serve as a guiding principle for companies of all sizes, executives said during an Adobe Summit digital keynote presentation.
"Every customer has a journey, and [businesses] want to be able to help customers in their journey," said Anil Chakravarthy, executive vice president and general manager of digital experience at Adobe, in a "fireside chat" with Jason Woosley, vice president of commerce at Adobe.
Beforehand, Woosley talked about the importance of making every experience personal and shoppable.
"This is what we call experience-driven commerce," which describes how brands—"from nimble startup to the very largest enterprise"—increase revenue, average order value, and customer lifetime value, he said.
According to Chakravarthy, who prior to joining Adobe had been chief executive of Informatica, an Adobe partner and leader in enterprise data management, developing a digital experience strategy has three major parts.
Businesses first need to evaluate the customer data and insights required to implement a digital-first or digital-only strategy. Data should include customer profiles and histories of their interactions and transactions to form the basis of an informed strategy.
The second component builds on that information with a data-driven operating model (DDOM) to track the customer journey through the phases of "discover, try, buy, use, and renew," Chakravarthy said. "Every customer has that journey."
Every stage of that journey requires a strategy to mix content and commerce, the third major component of a winning strategy. Commerce-driven content not only includes a website or mobile app, but also a strategy to personalize the experience for each platform.
Businesses must look at "how to make every experience a commerce experience, make every experience shoppable," Chakravarthy said.
The coronavirus has made these strategies even more urgent for many businesses whose traditional sales channels face significant disruptions. Health officials worldwide have urged people to stay home, while government authorities in many regions have ordered businesses to shut down as part of their "social distancing" policies.
"For a lot of [e-commerce] customers, it's really about moving to a digital-first economy, and for many it's a digital-only environment where they can interact with their own customers," Chakravarthy said.
He noted a distinction between two "classes" of customers: those that already had an e-commerce presence—"and now it takes on increased importance"—and those that historically didn't have a strong e-commerce presence "and now they have to be online, otherwise they've essentially shut themselves off from the world, and so they are scrambling and trying to get that digital commerce going as quickly as they can."
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