The @SmarterCX team is in Denver this week at the @pipelinepros Insight Conference. Take a look at some of the key #commerce tips and tools the team has learned so far: https://t.co/Jos1thkx2w #SmarterCX @MiaMcP pic.twitter.com/5mHf6Z3rbB
— SmarterCX (@SmarterCX) July 31, 2018
This week, the SmarterCX.com team is in attendance at Insight 2018, the second annual conference hosted by PipelinePros, the Oracle ATG, Endeca, and Oracle Commerce Cloud user group.
While “camping out” with commerce leaders from top brands like ULTA Beauty, The Vermont Country Store, Carolina Biological, and many more, we learned tips, best practices, top challenges, as well as gained insight into new technologies that are shaping the future of customer experience. Here are some of the key takeaways.
Top challenges for today’s commerce leaders
Bob Meixner, Senior Product Strategist, Oracle, opened the conference with a keynote, “AI, Personalized Offers, Products, and Search”. Before delving into the details around AI, Bob laid out the challenges that AI seeks to solve for modern commerce leaders.
First among these challenges: Digital natives — referring to both consumers who have grown up in a digital age and expect one experience across all devices, as well as digital native companies like Uber, Netflix, and Hello Fresh, which have set a new bar for customer expectations of convenience and speed.
How do brands compete with digital native companies and meet the needs of digitally native consumers? Another top challenge is the technology — utilizing data to understand customers better than the competition, as well as harnessing back office and front office systems effectively to set the stage for that seamless, consistent customer experience.
Top tools for today’s commerce leaders
The opportunity, Bob outlines, is in a smarter approach to CX, including the use of Adaptive Intelligence, smart data, and a human touch.
The aim of Adaptive Intelligence is to help commerce leaders acquire, convert, and grow, Bob stated, by offering customers the right content and offers at the right time throughout their shopping journey. Data isn’t the only factor, though — computing power of AI factors in, as the ability to set the right digital recommendation within milliseconds, as a customer navigates a website or app — is key.
An example of a smarter CX approach could look like the following:
Consider a fictional customer named Sam, who is a 30 year old male living in Chicago. Sam is a Chicago Cubs fan, and also enjoys fishing. Sam is planning a fishing trip to Minnesota with his brother, and so he visits sportfishing.com, researches the best fishing sites in Minnesota, makes his travel plans online, checks the weather, and searches fish-related recipes.
Through Oracle Commerce Cloud, and integration with AI apps and Oracle DMP, a brand could target Sam based on his digital body language. For example, a fishing gear retailer could target Sam with a relevant ad for one of the products that he’s in the market for, and once he clicks on the ad and visits the site, the fishing retailer can show Sam other products he may be interested in, such as a Chicago Cubs themed cooler or backpack. Plus, once Sam makes his purchases and gets his shipping confirmation via email, this communication can be personalized to present Sam with other relevant offers based on his interests.
Fireside chat with Jesse Amerson: An overview of Insight 2018 and preview of Insight 2019
PipelinePros’ Director of Marketing and Operations, Jesse Amerson, sat down with me at the conference for a “fireside chat”, and offered his own insight into conference attendees and speakers, which included CX leaders from B2C organizations like Vera Bradley and Michael Kors, and B2B orgs like Carolina Biological and Ferguson Enterprises. According to Jesse, PipelinePros grew its brands in attendance by nearly 80% compared to last year, and he’s looking forward to continued growth next year at Insight 2019 in Austin.
What makes a great commerce experience?
I also asked Jesse to tell me, in his opinion, what makes a great commerce experience. For Jesse, personalization based on data is key to an effective commerce experience. “Some of the major retailers are doing some fabulous things in the stores with noting who customers are when they enter the store. The whole shopping experience is changing so dramatically, so quickly, and the ecommerce side is really changing the game on how people shop for items. I do probably 90% of my shopping online, and that is a testament to the amazing, thought-provoking people that are here and are doing amazing things with the products,” Jesse said.
Fireside chat with Ron Schindler: The biggest game changer in commerce
Speaking of data — artificial intelligence, powered by data, was one of the hot topics at Insight according to Ron Schindler, Director of Business Development, VSG Commerce.
“I just saw Bob Meixner from product management present on AI by Oracle, and I think that is the biggest thing here for me, because that is the biggest game changer that I see happening in commerce,” Ron commented in our interview at Insight. “AI gives us the ability to do things that we used to do manually, and it would take a long time to do them. Now what we’re seeing with AI and the things that I was able to learn here, is they’re going to automate that.”
When I asked Ron how he would respond to the common question, “Will robots take my job?” he emphasized the human element necessary to effectively utilize AI.
“You just don’t let AI run off by itself. There is a certain amount of human management,” said Ron. “What they can do now with AI is actually get more effective targeting, but there’s still a human element that has to manage that.”
For more insights from the latest customer experience events and conferences, visit smartercx.com/cx-events.