e-commerce tranformation

E-Commerce Transformation: 'The Race Is On,' Execs Say

The challenges for retail companies trying to meet the demands of their customers are changing: previously it was about the individual aspects of buying, and now it’s about integrating all aspects of the consumer journey, according to industry insiders. These challenges require more partnerships and integration, said keynote speakers at Adobe’s recent MagentoLive Europe 2019 event, in Amsterdam.

“It’s less about point solutions. It’s less about just the shopping cart or order management. The conversations are much broader,” said Brian Green, head of commercial sales & GTM, EMEA at Adobe, while kicking off the annual event. “Having that conversation about the full customer experience is happening more and more.”

Importantly, customers now rate digital experiences against the best they’ve had no matter what the industry sector, said Paul Robson, president of Adobe's international business

“The benchmark on digital competitiveness is the ultimate experience the consumer is experiencing across any of the brands they interact with. That’s very challenging,” Robson said. “We must own the consumer journey from start to finish. The race is on.”

Speakers noted that speed and ease of moving people across channels have become a big part of building experiences to attract and keep customers. Omnichannel innovation requires better data, agile management, and open source structures to enable retailers to adapt to changes in the consumer journey, Robson and Green both agreed.

Many speakers noted that progressive web apps (PWAs), which preload content on devices to speed up and optimize navigation, will increasingly become the norm, due to their potential to improve commerce experiences online.

“The first impression was, 'Whoa, it’s crazy. It’s blazing fast,’” said Jonathan Ribas, CTO of Paris-based fashion brand Zadig and Voltaire, during his keynote.

Partnerships are also increasingly playing a part in omnichannel commerce innovation, said MagentoLive speakers, many of whom recognized the developer community and vendors for improving, scaling, and personalizing solutions using open source.

Open source solutions are becoming more important to the development of digital platforms, Robson said. “That blend of corporate and community code is key to innovation,” Robson said. 


Jason Woosley at MagentoLive Europe
“A platform is only as good as the community that builds on it, collaborates around it, and extends it. If you don’t have an ecosystem, you don’t have a platform.”
Jason Woosley, VP of commerce product & platform, Adobe

Transforming Experiences

Speakers at MagentoLive also addressed what goes into a winning experience, which, according to Robson, can take many forms. He noted how Ikea realized that consumers whose hands were busy assembling the furniture would benefit from a voice-assisted tool, so Ikea’s partner, Deloitte Digital, created a voice-driven instruction manual. In this case, voice technology had the potential to transform the customer experience, he said.

Omnichannel innovation “is an area where we’ve seen incredible adoption,” Woosley agreed. “We’ve been talking about it not being optional for a long time. (And now) it is truly ingrained in what it means to be e-commerce today.”   

Woosley noted that when Adobe began measuring rates of buy online/pick up (BOPIS) in store purchases in 2018, it saw rates “through the roof.” By year-end, the top 25% of retailers had seen over 250% increases in use of in-store pickup, he said. 

“Shoppers are expressing a strong preference for flexible delivery, instant fulfillment, and we’re here to make sure retailers are ready for this new reality,” he said.

The digital transformation required to prepare retailers requires arming teams with tools and embracing agile management, Zadig & Voltaire’s Ribas said. “You need to support your team growth,” he said, encouraging marketers to embrace automation and prioritize tasks “because you can’t do everything. It’s real life.”

Zadig & Voltaire’s effort required building a new technology architecture that included a maintainable and adaptable platform that could adjust over time while keeping data secure. “We need to be scalable and resilient also," Ribas said. "It’s very important to our business.”

With mobile commerce taking up a larger share of online sales and BOPIS continuing to grow, tracking users across their journey becomes ever more important, speakers agreed. The ability to work across channels and devices, using whatever tools are necessary for that moment in the consumer journey, will be key to success.

“We all know that digital is changing the way that we work … but as business owners it puts pressure on all of us,” Robson said. “Ultimately what we want to do is work out how to put the right thing, or right product, or right device in front of the right person at the right time—and do that at speed and scale.”

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