Firsthand Insights from Salesforce Connections 2019

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.

We set up shop at Salesforce Connections 2019.

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!

What Contentsquare Learned at Shoptalk 2019

Contentsquare promised to show you the money at Shoptalk 2019 and we did. We held an interactive booth that put Shoptalk attendees to work on our wall, in search of hidden insights. Our guests went sleuthing for the code to our secret room, while our robot hung out with some of the visitors. Our team of UX-perts were on hand to demo our fabulous suite of digital experience analytics. And we also reaped a lot of knowledge regarding the intersection of retail and digital. Here are a few things we learned at Shoptalk 2019.

Influencer Marketing is Ramping Up

Influencer marketing, the practice of using influential people for brand awareness, is huge right now, and many brands are capitalizing on this magic formula of endorsement and audience rolled into one. What’s more is that it has the potential to not only raise brand awareness but to up revenues as well. Andrea Fasulo, the head of Consumer Products Marketing at Nickelodeon, divulged that Nick’s partnership with JoJo Siwa, a 15-year-old YouTuber, has increased their revenues as JoJo’s star rose. (The kid’s network added JoJo to their shows, apparel and toy lines). She now is worth about $1 billion and has a YouTube viewership of millions.

The success of this influencer partnership comes from her alignment with Nick’s brand. To infuse the influencer partnership with a feeling of validity, brands are pairing up with public figures who are passionate, or at least interested in their niche and products. In other words, with the right influencers, a business’s brand messaging looks less like an ad and more like genuine interest/usage of their offering.

But brands don’t necessarily need to reach out to big-name influencers; influencers with a relatively moderate to even a small following can go a long way for e-retailers. Cathey Curtis, the VP of Global Marketing for the surf and snowboard gear company Billabong, has revealed that the company’s Instagram posts that feature micro-influencers get 3 times more engagement than those that feature regular models.

Big Data Has Spawned the Rise of Artificial Intelligence

Data proliferation is no longer unusual, with most businesses pumping out onslaughts of data by the minute. The reliance of data is only increasing and when there’s an excess of data, it loses its digestibility — at least to human eyes and minds. That’s where artificial intelligence and machine learning come in. AI is at the fore of both data processing and how data is delivered to us.

Russell Scherwin, the CMO of Watson Commerce at IBM, spoke about AI at one of the sessions. “If you aren’t addressing AI, you’re behind,” he said. AI technology can help you discover the goings on of your website, without having to scout through a tiresome load of data. With AI technology at hand, brands can easily parse through their data and analytics to optimize their UX, personalize the customer journey and understand the most pressing issues regarding their sites.

Personalization is a Winning Strategy

E-commerce consumers are becoming more and more in want of a shopping experience tailored just towards them, or one built closely around their needs. With the constant bombardment of advertisements and brand messaging, usually with personal elements, consumers are looking to get the same kind of experience while perusing websites that are selling to them.

Personalization comes as a specialized strategy for UX optimization, as it will be different based on the different types of customers in the market. While many retailers have relied on creating emails that tap into their customers’ unique shopping tastes and experiences (ie, abandoned carts, product recommendations), there are far many other routes to take on the front of personalizing the customer journey.

Some of these methods include digital shelves, custom products, endless aisles, geo-targeting, personalized upsells, style finders and more.

Bouqs Co., an e-commerce flower seller based out of California has added special features to its site to increase the personalization factor.

These new features include giving customers the option of watching mini documentaries on the site. The documentaries exhibit the details of the farms which produce the bouquets before shoppers buy one. “We’re adding value beyond just the purchase and I think that’s a big part of the future of e-commerce,” said Bouqs founder John Tavis.

Implementing New Service Delivery Models to Meet Your Customers’ Needs

As part of a strategy to continue product subscriptions as well as to gain customers for single purchase goods, retailers are creating new delivery models. The revamping of delivery methods is part and parcel of the CX, or customer experience.

In this way, CX is an amalgamation of digital with physical experiences. The receipt of a delivery occurs in the physical world, while ordering it comes from digital.

Although customers may spend long periods of time scouring e-commerce sites, they may not always convert, not least where a delivery is involved.

Executives from Madison Reed, a hair care company, and Brandless, a food, beauty and personal care supplier, held a discussion on the fusion of digital and physical experiences. A major area of concern for this merger is the implementation of new service delivery models.

These new models include white label options, subscription boxes and various delivery methods to give brands the edge in a competitive retail market.

Shoptalk 2019

Signing off, we want to say that one of the best shows at the junction of e-commerce and retail certainly lived up to its name. Shoptalk 2019 was an outstanding and enlightening experience for us at Contentsquare and the visitors alike. We’ll definitely be back and we look forward to what the future of digital holds.

Contentsquare Debuts at NRF, the World’s Largest Trade Show

Contentsquare is pleased to announce that in January 2019, it will join the ranks of businesses in residence at this year’s NRF, the world’s largest retail exhibition and trade show.

Contentsquare will be making its NRF debut as part of a delegation of French startups cherry-picked by Business France, a French government agency with the mission to promote French companies globally.

The Contentsquare team will be sharing a kiosk with 18 other leading French startups — including e-payments processor Wordline — selected by Business France for their innovation and vision. Contentsquare is included as part of the “Mature” section of startups, defined as fulfilling two criteria: possessing French and global clients, along with a proven strategy for growth in the US.

As well as bringing word-of-mouth exposure to an audience of thousands, it will hold panels with its partners and clients in two breakfast events. Contentsquare’s very own Chief Strategy & Partnership Officer, Jean-Marc Bellaiche is set to speak at these networking events, which will serve as an interchange of best practices for digital experience development.

The event, which will run from January 13-15th at Javits Center in New York City, will host thousands of businesses, including a slew of big brands across industries. These industries span a wide breadth of categories, including technology, grocery, fashion, automotive, fundraising and many others.

Joining the annual conference will be a bevy of chains, startups, manufacturers and other vendors. Having made a splash in the SaaS scene with its digital insights platform, Contentsquare, alongside other startups, will take part in discussions on tackling e-commerce challenges and digitally proofing the retail experience.

Along with the kiosk, which will be manned by Contentsquare’s sales and marketing teams, two breakfast events will be held. On Sunday, January 13th, a business breakfast will be held at Toro NYC in partnership with Business France and the e-payments experts at Worldline.

On Monday, January 14th, Contentsquare will host a champagne breakfast at Magic Hour, featuring a special guest speaker from its client Later in the evening, Contentsquare will participate at the exclusive, annual retail gala hosted by business network French Founders. During the gala, Contentsquare will be present in an interactive branded space, in which Jean-Marc Bellaiche is set to partake in a panel on “The Rise of Experiential Retail” alongside major brands like Casper and Mars.

NRF will allow Contentsquare to connect with existing clients and meet face to face with digital leaders looking to harness the power of behavioral data. The kiosks are open for all attendees to visit, and the team is excited to meet attendees, participants and all the movers and shakers who are helping shape the future of retail.