Branding

Customer-Centricity is Here to Stay

customer-centricity-is-here-to-stay

eCommerce Brands are in a Battle for the Customer Profile.  Whether they know it or not. 

Centralizing your entire organization (in-store, marketing, service, & merchandising) around a single customer profile opens up a world of possibilities for delivering a beautiful and relevant experience.  Channel-centric solutions that aren’t built on, or paired with, a CDP create a ceiling for your ability to dynamically segment, personalize, and create a lasting impression on every buyer. And if you don’t think that really matters, think again:  

According to a recent survey by GlobalWebIndex, 46% of respondents in the UK and the U.S. say they would give personal information in exchange for more tailored product recommendations.

Salesforce CEO Mark Benioff recently announced updates to their Customer 360 platform that have received a lot of attention in the eCommerce industry. 

Ron Miller of TechCrunch commented that “the goal here is to be able to have all your customer data in a single place so that you can build a deep understanding and deliver meaningful experiences based on that knowledge. The company is not alone in this. Adobe announced the general availability of a similar product last week and startups like Segment are also trying to solve this issue.” 

Now, we know that this move has been years in the making.  Their acquisitions of MuleSoft and Tableau left some obvious breadcrumbs that Salesforce and Benioff have been focused on the unification of data for their eCommerce customers.  Benioff called it their “fourth wave of computing.”  

Salesforce’s Customer 360 announcement was in the headlines all week during Dreamforce 2019, but it’s likely not your first exposure to a message around the importance of a unified customer profile.  The notion that brands can win by creating a seamless and personalized experience across marketing, service, and merchandising has been the central thesis of how Zaius was built. Here’s our take and our advice on how brands should be thinking about this announcement: 

The Industry is Continuing to Move Towards a Data-First, Customer-Centric approach.  

Anytime a vendor like Salesforce makes an announcement, there are ripple effects across the industry.  They have firmly planted their flag in the CDP space (along with other large players like Oracle and Adobe) and committed to a hyper-focus on stitching data together from multiple sources, putting it into one system of record, and making it actionable for retailers.  

At Zaius, we couldn’t agree more with this move.  As buyers have grown to expect brands to create personalized and memorable experiences for them each and every time they buy, the industry has been forced to adapt.  There are countless vendors who architected their platforms have as an ESP-first or channel-first solution, and they should see this as a further wakeup call that the industry is moving in the other direction.  And if you’re using one of those platforms – this may be one of those moments for you as well.  

When this announcement happened at Dreamforce, the reaction at Zaius was:  “Whoa – this is exciting.” We’re encouraged to see Salesforce join the movement towards customer-centricity in eCommerce because it validates our central thesis around the way we architected our platform:

If eCommerce marketers can’t access customer data, creating a memorable and relevant buying experience simply isn’t possible.  

If the data marketers have access to isn’t actionable, it’s useless.  

If every other system in the organization isn’t activated off of the same centralized customer profile, creating an immersive and personalized experience is impossible.  

So you can understand why this feels like a very validating moment for Zaius:  customer-centricity is here to stay.   

According to a recent report by Accenture, 91% of consumers are more likely to buy from companies who remember them and provide relevant offers. Further, 83% of them are also willing to share their data in exchange for a personalized experience.

The thing that will separate eCommerce winners from losers over the next 5 years will be their ability to collect customer data from every source, consolidate it onto a single customer profile, and use insights and predictive intelligence to automate their customer experience.  

With every passing year, your customers are more accustomed to being served a perfectly seamless experience with your brand.  It doesn’t matter if they’re trying to buy a product on your website, interacting with your service team on a past purchase, or being served a retargeting ad.   There is no longer an excuse for creating friction in that process.  

If you’re a marketing leader at a growing eCommerce brand, you know the overwhelming reality of how many options are out there when you’re buying technology and building your tech-stack.  

Now is a good time to take a moment to step back and ask yourself these important questions:

  • Do I use a platform that consolidates data from every data source and gives me a true, accurate, and clear customer profile?  
  • If one of my customers interacted with me on multiple channels, would they have a seamless customer experience?
  • Does my technology allow me to dream up beautiful customer experiences the way I’ve always imagined, and build it? 

If the answer to any of these questions is no – Zaius would love to show you a different way.

This article was originally published by our friends at Zaius.

About the author

Steve Hutt

Steve has entrepreneurship in his DNA. In the early days of online commerce, he achieved Power Seller status at eBay, which then propelled him to become a founding partner of VisionPros.com, a contact lens, and eyewear retailer. After a successful exit from his startup, he embarked on his next journey into agency work in e-commerce and digital strategy.

Currently, Steve is part of the Merchant Success Team at Shopify Plus, where he is a Strategic Advisor helping brands continue to grow and scale with the Shopify Commerce Platform.

To maintain a competitive edge and life of learning mantra, Steve also hosts and produces a top-rated weekly podcast show, eCommerce Fastlane, where he interviews Shopify partners and subject matter experts who share the latest marketing strategy, tactics, platforms, and must-have apps, to help Shopify brands build and scale lifetime customer loyalty.