Connected customers and disconnected experiences in an age of convergence

13 May 2014
Amar Patel
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While recently reading “Advertising's Next Frontier: The Internet of Everything” on Mashable, I came across the following nugget:

“Shiv Singh, SVP global brand and marketing transformation for Visa, foresees a day when you can complete a 10-mile run and your devices will know to order a Gatorade to be delivered to your door when you're done.”

Are you surprised by this statement? For us at Cognifide, we see this (and more) coming to our lives soon. Our Retail Theatre scratches at the surface of what could become part of our regular B2C experiences. But play it out a little more; I’m imagining things like a fashion store that utilizes a mobile app leveraging social identity preferences to tailor the in-store music playlists and digital signage based on the aggregate social makeup of the audience.

Now throw in some beacons in a large department store and you could get more focused, or even follow individual consumers. This might sound a little creepy, but the data is pointing to consumers actually preferring this. According to an article in The Drum, 65% of shoppers found the idea of receiving targeted coupons on their smartphones while already in-store would be appealing.

Commerce has changed a lot through the years, and is currently undergoing a massive evolution. What’s interesting to us is the arrival and proliferation of new paradigms, like click-and-collect, mobile and contactless payments (like Uber), and more examples of seamless handshakes between the offline and online worlds. I have a simple personal example to share.

I have Virgin Media at home for our Internet, fixed phone and TV, though I’m not a mobile customer of theirs. In the last year, I’ve started receiving personalized mobile phone brochures, with my first name (based on a preference I’d already given Virgin Media) peppered in it. The mobile phones seem to be targeted to me based on my monthly spend over the other products and channels.

Interestingly, receiving a personalized brochure made me feel a little bit more special, and when I recently got a new one, even though I am not considering switching my provider, my attention was captured for longer than if it had been a generic brochure. And maybe, as a result, while I’m still unlikely to change mobile provider now, I’m influenced enough that I’ll look at Virgin Media when my contract is up.

What factors does a customer experience platform (CXP) need to deliver a successful connected experience? I’ve mentioned a couple of examples above, which we can distil into the following factors:

  • Seamless handshake across the physical and digital worlds
  • Leverage context awareness and relevance
  • Stay agile and be adaptable

Now, while these aren’t the only factors with which a successful connected experience can be delivered, they are important. Moreover the two threads of delivering content and commerce are beginning to weave together to enable and share these factors better, e.g. the commerce system needs to know personal profile information held in a CXP, to deliver the most relevant offer, discount, product bundle, etc.

Commerce and monetization needs to just happen within the delivery of a customer experience, and it’s increasingly hard to justify why this shouldn’t happen, or why it needs to be managed in a siloed fashion.

This is why Cognifide and Elastic Path, an enterprise commerce software company, recently teamed up on a strategic alliance. We feel that Elastic Path’s edition for Adobe Experience Manager and mature Cortex integration layer can enable our AEM customers to let commerce just happen within their customer’s digital experiences.

Here are a couple of videos from Elastic Path the demonstrate some of the potential that can be tapped:

Elastic Path Edition for Adobe Experience Manager: http://youtu.be/pkY0TFrdvsU

Commerce of the Future - Google Glass Demo: http://youtu.be/-K3DzXr-I90

[1] Hyperconnectivity is a term invented by Canadian social scientists Anabel Quan-Haase and Barry Wellman, arising from their studies of person-to-person and person-to-machine communication in networked organizations and networked societies. For more see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyperconnectivity.