Presented at Activate Product Discovery 2021. In today’s digital first economy, brands that truly consider their customers, what they are trying to achieve, and how they can help them as their tastes, preferences and needs change are the brands that succeed.
Alex Dal Canto, Acquia Director of Product Marketing
Alex Del Canto: Hello, and welcome to a hyper-personalized approach to commerce with Acquia DXP. My name is Alex Dal Canto, director of product marketing at Acquia.
Let me quickly introduce myself. Over the last 10 years or so, we’ve all invested in a number of technologies, tools, and different strategies to gather a ton of data about our customers and specific activation channels, in order to acquire them and engage them.
We’ve acquired their profiles, we segmented them, tried to reach them on their email, or their mobile phones, and at the end of the day, especially in today’s digital first age,I think we’ve lost the human connection with our customers at some point in time. And we lost a little bit of empathy along the way. We’ve treated them like targets, right? They were just another number in a database and actually my name is not some alphanumeric string of characters or just a simple ID, it’s Alex, and I’m really happy to meet you all here today.
And what I wanted to share with youis what I believe hyper personalization truly means in today’s COVID times. And it might be a little different from what you expect, so just hear me out.
Hyper personalization is really all about showing empathy, and truly getting to understand who your customers are at an intimate level. We all know this because we’ve all had to try and maintain and foster connections with our colleagues, friends, and family during the lockdown, as we all work virtually and try to keep our loved ones safe.
And in doing so, we’ve gotten to know them in new ways. We get to sit and watch our coworkers’ dog run across the room, my personal favorites are the fluffy ones. Or their children shouting across the room because they’re hungry, and often times, we’re in the same boat there.
But I think in some odd way, even if we’re more digital than ever today, I think we’re starting to learn how to relate to people in new ways. To that end, our behavior and interactions with brands have also changed as we go out less and shop online a whole lot more.
What we used to be interested in doing, what we used to buy, and how frequently we bought that, whatever it may be has changed. And our buying patterns have shifted.
The brands that we frequent are those that we know and trust. They are those brands that have fostered a deep and intimate connection with us. So for example, you might no longer grab a coffee every morning on your way to work because you’re not actually going anywhere, but your living room, but you’ll treat yourself to a Starbucks every so often, and make coffee at home most of the week.
The brands that truly consider their customers, consider what they’re trying to achieve, and how they can help them as their tastes, preferences, and needs constantly change, even when their past preferences may no longer be indicators of their future buying patterns. Those are the brands that win.
What we’ve found, and research has really backed this up, is that most companies, despite all of these investments, still aren’t able to deliver on this.
And we live in disruptive times, in fact, the only certainty we have is uncertainty. The disruption consumers are facing is also related to the disruption that brands are facing. The best thing any brand can do right now is to really start to think differently about these demographic shifts and shifts in consumer buying patterns, to come up with a brand new approach, to truly understand how to build that one-to-one connection with their customers.
And when you think about it, all of us as consumers expect this. We want this. Over the last 10 years, we’ve really grown tired of these semi personalized emails that are really not very personalized at all. We’ve grown tired of all of these ads bombarding us, from Facebook to Google, to anywhere really, for products that we frankly might’ve already bought a week ago.
At the end of the day, consumers are just trying to let you understand who they are. They know that brands have information about their online activity, their past buying experiences, their call center interactions, and purchase history. What they’re asking
brands to do quite simply, is to help them – help them achieve their goals, and make their lives easier.
And in these disruptive times, brands need to move extremely quickly to win their customers over, and beat out their competition. They need to act with agility to implement a new data strategy and empower every single employee within their organization to understand the end goal every customer needs to achieve and to make smart decisions to help the customer on their own personal journey.
They need to empower all of their employees by connecting their systems and to truly understand each and every individual’s unique intent. And this is critical as our customers again have changed. The buying journey is entirely online. People are binging on content and the things that they used to buy are completely different now. Moreover, they’re less likely to buy from a variety of brands, but rather tend to spend time and money from a tried and true set of brands they trust. Agility matters, because each and every retailer business and brand wants to be that trusted entity that consumers spend an unproportionate amount of time and money with in this COVID age, because the brand knows them better than anyone else.
Now, this is very hard because everyone has spent so much time, resources and money building so many different systems. A lot of good work has gone into that, from CRM systems to monolithic commerce engines of past, as you know. However, what brands have consistently missed is placing a data strategy up front to unify all the information generated across these channels, and stored across systems so that they can truly empower their employees to engage those customers on an individual basis.
In order for a brand to move quickly, they need to take a step back, and actually think through how they’re going to put in place a new approach to unify the view of the customer, and to leverage the ability of every employee to understand who the customer is, and give them
the ability to make the smart day-to-day decisions that they need in order to help each customer.
Whether they’re a digital marketer looking to promote the next best offer, or content that will help a researcher in their journey, or the agent in a call center that needs targeted recommendations to help the customer, or the agent in a store that needs to meet a person’s needs quickly so that they have to spend as little time as possible indoors risking exposure
to a virus. .
It’s time to put a strategy in place that unifies all first party data, and looks beyond trying to buy customers with these relentless ads, but rather to engage them online in a compelling way, using all the rich insights that they’ve actually shared with us and allowed us to use on their behalf.
As such, we strongly believe that brands need to put a platform in place that drives customer intelligence. Brands need to place a customer data platform at the center of their strategy, so that everyone from marketers to data scientists, IT, and customer service teams can all start providing insights to the organization in order to help them drive customer success.
Now, Acquia has the wonderful ability to help many of our customers put a first party data strategy in place. Our clients have seen great success in building these deep customer relationships particularly in these uncertain times. One of my personal favorites is actually Godiva- one of their primary challenges was how to deal with store closures. As I’m sure many of you know, Godiva had many retail locations in the past, customers walk in and actually buy their confections on site. We all love a good chocolate covered strawberry, and that was really key to their business model. They had to pivot at the cusp of COVID, their stores had to close. And they were actually able to build, maintain and extend their customer relationships as they shifted to a digital only model on a dime, and identified new patterns in how clients purchased online versus in store. They unified all their data across online and offline operations, from the point of sale, to their E-commerce store, and were able to uncover key changes in who their customers actually were, and deliver them with extreme value very quickly by knowing who their customers were online, meeting their changed needs and expectations.
And one of the biggest benefits of uncovering how offline customers adapt to a digital only world is that Godiva was actually able to see a massive increase in their online traffic, return on ad spend, click through rates, and ultimately, online revenues. So they were able to actually not only see progression throughout their business, throughout the massive change, and a huge chasm that occurred but ultimately also expand that. And when stores reopen, clients like Godiva can apply the same methodology to understand how behaviors change in the new normal as consumers return to stores. Another great example here is Moosejaw, they are part of the Walmart group. They’ve recently focused on identifying and operationalizing a practice around a customer’s end objective. What their intent is, how can all friction be eliminated from the sales cycle and ultimately, how, when and where should they be engaged, with the right content and the right offer to facilitate conversion.
They were able to identify that intent at scale for every single individual within their database a and drive massive success in return. Acquisition costs went down, their revenues went through the roof. This would not have been possible without a first party data strategy, and them having taken the time to analyze their customer’s unique needs through machine learning, and engage them individually at scale.
Now in order to really mobilize this first party data strategy, we really couldn’t be more excited to partner with Lucidworks. Our specific end goal is to be able to fill the requirements of the products and services businesses require to operate, differentiate, and compete successfully, today and in future. Our goal is to accelerate that path to purchase, make it super simple, fast, and easy for consumers to discover products, find what they need in the moment, and fulfill at lightning speed anywhere.
By coupling a gold standard first party data strategy powered by Acquia CDP with Lucidworks Fusion, we are able to drive meaningful conversion faster than ever before, connecting the right customers with the right products at any time, keeping shoppers engaged as they browse, intelligently eliminating null results, boosting average order value with contextual recommendations, no matter where they engage. And Acquia and Lucidworks are partnered at the hip, to drive accelerated value for our clients and the consumers that they serve.
Together, the overall goal is to ensure that we can supercharge the customer experience, and in turn, supercharge customer’s ability to convert. By first and foremost knowing who your customers are, making sure that shoppable experiences are on every single device, at every touch point, just one click away. Personalizing the end to end journey, powering intelligent promotions. In the case of Godiva for example, unifying digital and physical experiences to help people as they transition from online to offline, depending on whatever’s happening in the world.
And at the end of the day because a brand is nothing more than the sum total of all of the experiences that employees deliver to their customers every single day, the most important thing is to empower the entire organization with the data and intelligence that they need to make decisive, informed decisions quickly, in store, in the call center, online, at corporate, anywhere.
Openness is the key to be able to achieve this. Openness to integrate, discover, extend, adapt, pivot, and power a brand to deliver amazing experiences no matter what changes in the world or what needs they have. This is openness to share insights with your employees, openness to become more empathetic and deliver value to your customers, rather than just looking to sell them.
And so we believe in this new data first feature, centralizing the customer profile, and uniting the world of content and data to be able to provide deep intelligence that enables a one-to-one understanding of your customers at scale, through advanced machine learning, to help orchestrate a journey and facilitate product discovery and conversion at every step with our partner, Lucidworks.
And as agility matters, we couldn’t be more delighted to introduce a new composable best of breed stack with Lucidworks to help brands test, iterate and deploy experiences faster than ever. Providing all of the core services that each of you need in order to deliver a new type of digital experience, an empathetic digital experience, that helps your customers and to deliver it very, very rapidly.
With that, I wanted to leave you with five key ingredients to delivering these one-to-one experiences. First and foremost is ensuring that you have a gold standard first party data strategy. You cannot know your customer unless all of those data silos are unified so that your employees can actually know who your customer is in the moment.
And of course, you need to understand that the customer isn’t only just interacting with you on one channel or online. They’re out living their lives, and they’re on multiple devices, and in multiple places at once. They have their wearables,they’re walking into your store, they’re browsing your site on their mobile phone, they’re driving in their car, maybe not on their mobile phone and driving at the same time, but you get the point. Integrating all of those online and offline behaviors into that unified view of your customer is critical to your success.
And also important is changing the culture to move away from just thinking about your customer as just another row in the database, but rather, truly unlocking curiosity and empathy and leveraging machine learning to deliver insights to your employees so that they can deliver that tailored experience anywhere, even in person, regardless of the function.
And most importantly, fulfilling customer expectations by integrating services from Lucidworks to deliver the last mile of the buyer experience, click and buy the exact product they need in the moment. Keeping your architecture open and extensible, so that as the world continues to deal with vast uncertainty, you can pivot on a dime at any time integrating and innovating new services and experiences for your customers.
We believe that these are the keys to delivering a hyper-personalized commerce experience. And with that, I wanna thank you for your time.