23 de August de 2017
by Martín Machín, Director of Pyxis
We will certainly have another very interesting year for e-commerce.
Despite the economic challenges of Brazil last year, we saw a lot of traction and very interesting projects materialized. What could have happened had the economy been better, would have been great!
In Latin America there has been a lot of activity in Mexico where the traction of electronic commerce is very important, and lot of the interesting projects were made there. Other countries with lot of traction were Colombia, Peru and Ecuador.
Yes, companies have to deploy a good e-commerce platform, omnichannel, connect with payment mechanisms, integrate with logistics and leverage digital marketing. This will continue because everyone has to get there, but those who are already there or implement these projects, have to look for other differentiating features. Leveraging digital marketing has been one of last year, but with this marketing approach to an audience of one, with a hyper-customization, it requires a lot of analysis and good web content management systems. We are seeing several companies moving there with different levels of maturity or availability in some components, customer journey, customer engagement, etc.
Having said that, last year we emerged the concept of conversational commerce. Many companies researched a lot about this topic and implemented tools like chatbots, which could be applied to various customer service domains and for e-commerce, particularly conversational commerce. What started last year will continue and we will see lot of implementations of these technologies in 2017.
Now there is a new emerging area, the convergence of content and commerce. The right combination of both with innovative approaches will help the marketing, engage the customer and at the end boost sales. The customer is demanding disruptive experiences through different channels, and the integration of multiple content from different sources and authors is a challenge for most platforms, but also for each company’s e-commerce teams.
The top ecommerce platform providers are assembling and improving their products, making them available in the cloud, including better digital assets management tools, and combining with marketing, analytics and social listening solutions. On the other side, we are seeing rich creative authoring tools for content, including text and videos, which have the capabilities to be plugged in the ecommerce platforms and use more the content to engage with the customer, and ultimately materialize sales through the customer journey.
The bloggers are seeing an opportunity to help brands to market their products through content, but also the video loggers (vLoggers) have a new space here. Hence writing and publishing relevant content and media is now in the conversation of setting up an engaging digital commerce platform. The brands will look for professional media creators to embed in their channels, are demanding this capability to the ecommerce platforms, and exploring the possibility to integrate customer generated content which must be relevant and curated, becoming credible and shareable. Just think about reading a text about a story, an experience of using a product and sharing it through your social media channels, the brand will be at a click of distance by pressing the buy button or adding a new point in the customer journey which will be analyzed in real time.
We have seen newspapers and magazines that are not issuing any more their printed versions. What will happen with all those retailers and multilevel marketing companies who are printing monthly magazines? While they must think how to move through a digital transformation of their catalogs, the transition phase still will be printed in physical paper. The creative tools have a role here but integrated with the ecommerce platforms to fetch all the relevant product information and content. The catalog will be more interesting for the customers if you can read an article about the experience of using a product. This will be suitable for the older generation, but all the efforts can be used to engage the millennials and new generations, who are dedicating lot of hours a day online.
Technology is there and retailers must find the right content creators and at the same time manage the user generated content. They will have a platform capable of integrating content and commerce, and take a step further in customer engagement. You will see soon that through this enabling platform you will be able to have a conversation with your customer. And we are not talking about a chatbot, we are referring to the process of how the customers engage with the content made available, how the sellers track it, and what they do with it. The commerce platforms are integrating hyper personalization features that can track the customer behavior, how they react, and based on all the collected data, processed through artificial intelligence and analytics tools, will serve the right content for each customer. And this will happen in an omnichannel way, in the website, in your mobile, in your mail, in your favorite social media tool, in a self-service machine, and soon in the physical store.
Today integrating content with commerce is another part of the ecommerce initiatives, and must be planned and budgeted in advance. In several cases this will be merged with existing resources as somehow will be the evolution of activities that are already in place, and will be an optimization of existing budgets and roles.
Retailers must consider the product segment, either be a single segment or a multi segment, each one will have its particularities and ways to engage with the customer. Think about creating and integrating content to engage customers for sports clothing, beauty, electronics, travel and leisure, financial products, etc.
Using credible content creators is key in the media generation, since you will get better results by publishing genuine feelings and thoughts, for example, from a credible sports journalist instead of too much commercial brand editorials. As a further step, think about presenting this content in a way that could be easily shared. Just try to engage an influencer in a specific domain or social group, and its impact will be very important (think about the attention of a retweet by one who coordinates a group related to a top soccer player).
Finally, the user generated content is another way to engage with the customers. Specific domain platforms are increasingly being used for specific user activities, that at the end enable the connection with a brand, and feed the customer journey. Think about sport and fitness or travel and leisure apps that turned into platforms, you start using them for your personal use, but at the end of the day you are generating lot of data that the brands can use and offer you relevant content of your interest.
The way of integrating content with commerce is there, and the better the retailers manage to act on it, the better results they will get in engaging customer and converting sales. Make sure you consider this in the new ecommerce initiatives, plan and budget in advance, and involve all relevant stakeholders in the organization.
Source: E-Commerce Brasil Magazine – Edition 38 – “Conteúdo e comércio, um mix para impulsionar as vendas” @martinmachin
23 de August de 2017