Purchasing doesn’t just happen instore anymore, we’re in a world of connected commerce where consumers have the power over where and when they shop.
The customer journey
For many years, selling through a physical store was the only option for brands, making purchasing simple but at the same time non-personal. The customer journey looked like this:
Today, the evolution of the internet has changed everything about commerce and purchasing power. There’s a whole array of channels that people use to research and influence their buying decisions. Brands are under increasing pressure to have a presence on as many channels as possible, as busy lifestyles mean consumers want to be able to purchase where and when they choose. There are the more traditional approaches like physical stores, over the telephone and desktop websites to the more advanced methods of communication like social, video, apps, wearables, with the list growing all the time.
So today, the customer journey looks more like this:
Customers jump from one channel to the next and sometimes even use multiple devices at the same time - for instance seeing a product on a TV advert then searching for it on a tablet from the sofa for cheaper deals. Purchasing power used to be in the hand of the retailer but now, and more so in the future, consumers have that control.
As discussed in our post ‘The Death of eCommerce’, the ‘e’ from eCommerce is frequently being dropped to reflect the fact there is now no separation between commerce and eCommerce as it were.
And just having a presence isn’t everything. Customers are increasingly expecting to have a personalized experience with the brands they love so they can purchase and browse seamlessly across many devices.
Companies are constantly analyzing consumer online behavior to be able to provide a personal and custom experience for their customers based on either their past search and purchasing habits or their individual demographics. This allows brands to target customers with products they’re likely to be most interested in and most likely to go on to buy. Personalization has been proven to increase sales and lead to higher customer satisfaction rates both in-store and online as consumers feel like the brand knows who they are.
The key to successful personalized journeys lies with cross-platform commerce, where all touch points provide the same custom experience for the customer, something which many downloaded platforms cannot offer when building an eCommerce store.
Cross-platform with Moltin
Commerce started with siloed channels where nothing was connected; websites, apps, and physical stores functioned independently. Brands had to deal with building individual systems for each channel meaning customer data had to be manually updated across each one, resulting in mediocre experiences for consumers. There was no connection between the customer and the brand. Loyalty programs were introduced and did provide some form of personalization but stores still didn’t truly know who their customers were, what they liked or how they could help and this needed to change.
As technologies advanced, integration layers were created to help companies bring all of their systems and data together. This was an improvement on what came before but this still consisted of complex development and headaches for developers as syncing issues meant updates weren’t made in real time and therefore the personal experiences brands want to create for their customers weren’t as seamless as they could be. Although Moltin can be a key part of this integration layer, we see a better solution for the future.
The rise of cloud technologies and cross-platform capabilities opened up the ability for all touch points to come together under one platform to create highly personalized customer journeys like never before. At Moltin, we’ve mentioned our own experiences and frustrations with other eCommerce platforms before and when we saw the increase in the use of APIs across other sectors, we knew this was the answer eCommerce had been waiting for.
Moltin is a globally available eCommerce API. Connecting your store to anything powered by the internet, it becomes the core of your project. The platform maintains content, inventory, and orders, runs business processes and services in an easy, secure way, to give customers a seamless experience.
One single system, like Moltin, makes it easy for customers to transact across multiple channels, at the same time if necessary. All data is stored in one place, so external interfaces can communicate to it, meaning no need for messy, complex logic. There’s also the ability for data to be simultaneously updated across all channels and parts of the system, providing that personalization customers want. This system lends itself to being able to create deep customer insights, improving conversion rates and connecting with customers like never before.