Adobe’s acquisition of Magento Commerce in May brings many new advantages, Magento’s senior vice president of strategy Peter Sheldon said.
I spoke with Mr. Sheldon at MagentoLive Europe 2018, a two-day conference held in Barcelona back in October where 1,850 people got to see some of the new developments in e-commerce.
The acquisition was part of a well-thought out payments strategy Mr. Sheldon began.
“It’s been on our roadmap to do this for a long time,” he explained. “We’ve got a lot of prior experience in this space.”
Indeed they do. Magento has long partnered with PayPal to provide debit, credit card and PayPal functionality through Magento Open Source. When part of eBay, Magento grew its expertise in payments and payment execution.
“This isn’t some new strategy per se it’s an evolution of a long term strategy,” Mr. Sheldon said. “It’s really formalizing a lot of what we’ve been doing already and wrapping it up under the Magento offering, the Magento brand with our products behind it.”
Mr. Sheldon sees Magento as occupying a unique niche in the marketplace. SAP is strong in its can office capability in relation to ERP, but from a front office perspective, delivering exceptional digital experiences to their customers is not their forte, he said. Adobe is better able to creatively attack digital advertising and marketing.
Salesforce’s strength is in CRM and not on delivering a great end-to-end digital experience.
“They have a good understanding of who the customer is,” Mr. Sheldon said. “Magento is strong in their ability to weave together a comprehensive, start to finish digital experience for the customer.
“Where I think our competitors are a little more siloed with one piece of the customer journey I think Adobe and Magento is really the only company in the market that has a comprehensive story from start to finish of that customer journey.”
That holistic approach is crucial in the digital age where a customer may take several visits across multiple formats before they make a high consideration purchase, Mr. Sheldon explained.
“The customer will come back frequently and expect to come back to where they left off. I expect you to know who I am. I’m not telling you again and again about who I am. I expect you to know who I am and know what I did the last time I was with the brand.”
A successful company will accurately track all customer interactions, whether it come in person, over the phone, or digitally across a range of devices. With highly responsive experiences becoming the norm, the customer expects the companies they deal with to personalize the experience to them by knowing what they have expressed interest in before and accurately suggesting items they could be interested in now. That takes mining data, which the customer is fine with provided they receive a heightened, efficient experience in return.
“It’s exactly what I want,” Mr. Sheldon said of the result. “I expect a seamless flow to the point where I am comfortable making the purchase after taking days and months to get to that point.”
And don’t make the mistake of assuming your work is done once the customer deciders to buy, Mr. Sheldon cautioned. You need a great cart and seamless check out process.
What happens after the checkout is key to fostering brand loyalty, Mr. Sheldon said. Magento is working with its shipping partners to meet delivery expectations. If that shipment is going to be late, let the customer know. Things happen, so show them you’re trying. This is especially true with those high consideration buys.
“The journey with the customer begins when you click the buy button,” Mr. Sheldon said. “That’s when we really get engaged.”
Tell the customer when to expect the delivery. Send them an electronic copy of the owner’s manual. Pack and wrap the item as attractively as possible. Have a trained customer support team available. Provide access to a community of fellow consumers who can swap stories and tips.
“All of that helps build that engagement and that experience, so by the time that product actually arrives at the front door the excitement is through the ceiling,” Mr. Sheldon said.
Another area of consideration in the customer experience is your supply chain, Mr. Sheldon said. Having comprehensive tracking of every item allows companies to fill orders that might otherwise be lost.
“One of the biggest blocks to adoption today is the marketing is great until it comes time to buy the product and they are out of your size or style,” Mr. Sheldon observed. “But the company selling it has that product – it’s in a store somewhere.”
If efficiently organized, a company should be able to provide an availability promise by asking a retail location somewhere in their chain to package and ship the item to the customer, no matter where in the world they may be, Mr. Sheldon concluded.
“It’s making your problem our problem. As a customer you can buy from us every time.”
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