The third week of June marked the annual Salesforce Connections, a 3-day event centered on building potent customer experiences using the Salesforce platform. It was the perfect timing since one week before, we announced our integration with Salesforce B2C Commerce Cloud — a partnership that allows Salesforce Cloud clients to access Contentsquare insights in an enriched eCommerce management experience.
Besides running our own booth and sharing our customer experience tips with digital leaders from every vertical, we soaked up a wealth of insights from trailblazers in retail and walked away with some learnings of our own.
Here is what we learned at Connections 2019.
Strategizing the Lifetime Value of Customers
Our first takeaway from the customer experience event is one of the most important things any e-tail player should know, and any business owner for that matter: the maintenance of the lifetime value of customers. Ecommerce platforms can particularly capitalize on this, having the digital space at the core of their communication and access to a wealth of data about the preferences and shopping habits of their audience.
The lifetime value of customers, as its name suggests, refers to the continuous value that a select customer base can bring you. These customers are more than one-time buyers; rather they are those that have established something of a loyalty-based relationship with your brand, and as such are the best candidates for cross and upsells.
The idea behind lifetime customers involves positing a strong grip on customer retention — and beyond. The latter point of “beyond” refers to creating unique customer experiences set to distinguish you from other e-tailers, and by providing friction-free customer journeys across all channels.
With personalization now one of the standards of a good customer experience, being able to deliver highly customized, intent-based experiences to your audience will go a long way in securing their loyalty. And we’re not simply talking of personalized emails or product recommendations — understanding the nuances of customer behavior and navigation patterns is key to creating journeys that speak to what your customers are trying to achieve and how they wish to go about it.
Taking the 360° Approach to Customer Experience
There was also much talk about how marketing tactics can best benefit from a 360-degree approach, i.e., one that adds value for customers in every channel and at every touchpoint.
Consumers today expect to integrate multiple digital — and offline — touchpoints into their shopping routine. This omnichannel approach gives brands access to more consumer behavior data than ever before, and digital leaders have already been leveraging this wealth of data to fine-tune the experience for their most profitable segments.
Brands today cannot be successful unless they understand what is engaging your customers and where they’re struggling. You can begin this on digital, since some aspects of digital experience (DX) can be transitioned into other marketing channels — even the nondigital variety. For example, some images perform better than others; some copy engages better than others. You can measure it on digital first before going forward.
Automating the Digital Experience
Customer expectations of a streamlined experience have pushed brands to experiment with automated solutions across channels. Implementing automation in transmission strategies (think MailChimp and other mass email platforms, social media and text messages) has been the dominating automation technique and has helped brands deliver individualized messaging to consumers.
But aside from automation that facilitates content transmissions brands are also investing in tools to automate processes, such as conversational bots that guide navigation and replicate a level of customer service and guidance more often found in-store.
And the impact of automation is not just client-facing. As the volume of customer behavioral data increases, so does a brand’s capacity to predict behavioral patterns and UX performance trends.
This ties into the idea of artificial intelligence (AI), where machines can take automatic actions based on their own programming, rather than that of human command. AI can extend to the analytics space, granting you crucial alerts on customer behavior deviations or unusual happenings on your site.
Creating an Optimal Customer Experience
Marketers and ecommerce professionals should always be on the lookout for methods to deliver an exceptional customer experience. While you can’t read your customers’ minds, you can always theorize their intentions with concentrated behavioral data. Customers are communicating with your brand with every digital interaction — analyzing their journeys and in-page behavior is the best way to learn what they are trying to achieve and what is preventing them from completing an experience or transaction.
Aside from our learnings from Connections, we want to point out that we don’t only boast about building fantastic customer experiences; experience runs deep in our blood. During Connections, we brought out our friends from GoPro, whose bold, unique approach to digital content creation is a true inspiration. If you didn’t get a chance to pick up one of our “Golden Tickets” and chat with our team of UX-perts, don’t forget we’re always on hand to answer your customer experience questions!