Sonja KotrotsosSonja KotrotsosMay 26, 2020
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8min1117

Customers have increasingly high expectations regarding customer experience (CX) because the corporate giants whose products and services they use daily set the bar incredibly high.

Whether a business is consumer-facing or B2B, customers expect seamless convenience and personalised attention that immerses them in the brand experience — no matter where they are.

Thankfully, this level of CX is no longer just the domain of giants. Today, the technology that makes this kind of customer experience possible is becoming more mainstream and affordable, making immersive CX achievable.

What is Immersive CX?

At its most basic, immersive CX facilitates a seamless customer experience. The customer becomes fully immersed in the purchase journey, effortlessly navigating from one channel to the next without interrupting their day-to-day activities to do so.

On the more advanced side of the immersive CX spectrum, technologies such as augmented reality overlays and virtual reality headsets facilitate experiences that literally immerse the customer.

Immersive Customer Experiences Start with a Roadmap

A CX experience roadmap is simply a plan outlining the measures necessary to improve customer experience and the timeline on they are planned. Any CX roadmap should address both short-term and long-term goals for establishing immersive CX.

Defining clear goals and timelines makes it easier to gradually roll out immersive CX initiatives, helping businesses to capitalise on “low-hanging fruit” and meet long-term goals. Chopping up the plan into smaller parts makes it much more manageable.

Additionally, having a CX roadmap makes it easier to set goals and measure the CX program’s success or ROI. Setting up a customer satisfaction score (CSS) or net promoter score (NPS) benchmark helps to tie CX efforts to the bottom line.

On the mindset front, a CX roadmap will help an organisation remain committed to staying ahead of the curve by continually innovating and iterating the CX program. Customer expectations will continue to evolve, and so should a business if it wishes to remain competitive.

CMS for Immersive CX

At the outset it is worth remembering that a content management system (CMS) plays a massive role in delivering exceptional customer experiences. It’s instrumental in aligning the data, processes, and people needed to create and deploy consistently immersive experiences.

A headless CMS uses application programming interface (API) technology so content can be created and stored separately from its presentation. This separation enables content and marketing to create, optimise, and distribute content while designers and developers are building the best front-end display for that content on every channel and device.

With this in place, there are then five pillars to creating a successful CX roadmap:

1. Customer intelligence

Collecting customer feedback can be as simple as asking for ratings, making it easy to leave comments, and incentivizing survey completion. However, if possible, focus groups that can discuss the customer experience with actual customers are ideal.

Businesses need to facilitate the discussion but not steer responses.  The objective is real, organic customer thoughts on what works and what doesn’t. This needs to encompass the entire experience of a brand to gain a complete insight into the customer journey.

If a business already has analytics in place, this data can speak on the customers’ behalf to measure which aspects of existing CX initiatives are successful and which ones need to be adjusted.

2. Customer understanding

An analysis of the data collected should enable a business to better understand customers’ current pain points, where they’re happy with a business, and where there is room to improve.

Customers’ impressions of a brand are very different from the expectations of the business. This might not be a bad thing, but a business must decide to either take steps to alter this perception or lean into it.

The fundamental goal in this step is to identify ways to improve the customer experience. This may mean doubling down on some aspects of a CX approach and overhauling others completely.

3. Customer journeys

All of the above information should be compiled into a fully mapped out customer journey.  The objective is understand how each of the most valuable customer segments interacts with a brand.

Questions to consider include:

  • How did each customer discover the brand?
  • What was their experience at each touchpoint?
  • Which touchpoint convinced them to choose a given business above others?
  • How did they experience the purchase process?
  • Would they repeat the process?

At each leg of the customer journey, mark the pain points and CX features that customers commend, and identify opportunities to implement immersive CX upgrades.

4. Customer Experience Goals

Once the areas of CX improvement are identified, a business must commit to a timeline.

This is determined by impact and feasibility: and this can be assessed by a few quick questions

  • Which CX improvements can be implemented right away?
  • Which CX initiatives does the business view as the most urgent?
  • Which changes will have the most immediate impact on the customer experience delivery?
  • What resources, infrastructure, or expertise are required to roll out the more critical items?
  • Which actions are dependent on other activities or infrastructure being in place first?

This creates a plan of action with all the relevant stakeholders. As always, businesses should focus on easy wins or “low-hanging fruit” first and allow plenty of time to work towards more complex goals.

5. Customer Milestones

Setting milestones and benchmarks are perhaps the most crucial part of the whole immersive CX roadmap process. They are the very definition of if a given CX initiative is yielding any positive results.

Benchmarks such as a desired NPS or CSS score should be set and a business then needs to decide how regularly it will review these metrics to assess if a given CX strategy is working. These milestones should be included in the roadmap and used to take stock and adapt the strategy periodically if necessary.


Sonja KotrotsosSonja KotrotsosApril 29, 2020
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8min1274

The extent of change in the retail industry has been remarkable. People are talking to personal shopping robots, storefronts are morphing to mirror passers-by, and consumers are using hand-held computers to digitally try on clothes from the comfort of their own homes.

As a result of these changes, the evolution of traditional operational models and other trends that will present significant opportunities for digital retailers fall into 5 broad categories.

1. Options for Shopping Channels and Devices Will Continue to Grow

Omnichannel retailers use technology to tie together shopping channels to “…create a unified shopping experience across every single device and channel that a consumer uses to interact with their business.”

This approach to retail provides consumers with a seamless and continuous flow at every touchpoint regardless if they’re researching or making a purchase. And, omnichannel retail product and content delivery is practically a requirement for brands that want to remain modern and competitive.

The average digital consumer has five profiles across various online channels. And the majority of them expect consistent interactions across every profile they use to shop and interact with retailers.

What’s more, omnichannel shoppers spend an average of 4% more on every in-store shopping trip and 10% more online. Compared to single-channel shoppers, omnichannel shoppers visit their favourite retailers’ 23% more often and have a 30% higher lifetime value. Yet, 55% of shoppers still say their retail experience is “disjointed” when switching between channels, and only 22% of North American retailers consider omnichannel retail a priority.

There is a significant disconnect between today’s shoppers and retailers—which presents a critical opportunity for ecommerce businesses that can provide seamless products, content, and experiences across channels.

2. Shoppers Will Use Augmented Reality to “Interact” With Digital Products

Augmented reality (AR) technology enables shoppers to use cameras on their smart devices to display digital elements in the physical world. Brands like IKEA and Converse are setting the standard for how brands can take advantage of AR to enable their shoppers to get a “feel” for products before purchasing them online.

IKEA enables shoppers to use their smartphones to virtually “place” furniture in their homes so they can visualise how certain products will fit into the space before making a commitment. Converse’s smartphone app helps shoppers virtually try on shoes and share their AR-enhanced pics on social media!

3. Facial Recognition and Device Tracking Will Become The Norm

In 2020, retail businesses will hone in on omnichannel marketing and sales by integrating data gathered in-person with online customer profiles. This type of tracking is possible using radio frequency identification (RFID)-enabled beacons and WiFi to track devices, sensors to monitor movement, and cameras and facial recognition software to identify specific consumers. Retailers will finally be able to understand how shoppers interact with their physical stores the same way they use analytics tools to tell what’s happening in their digital ones!

Bringing together web, mobile, social, and now in-person data will put retailers in a position to provide 360-degree customer experiences in 2020.

Using smart cameras and sensors, Eyewear retailer BonLook can tell you how many glasses-wearing women in their target age range walk by any one of their shops, at any given time, on any given day.

Furthermore, they can break down how many of those people came into the store and how many completed a transaction. Using this information, BonLook was able to grow their conversions overnight just by updating their storefront advertising to better appeal to the group of passers-by whom they wanted to convert.

4. The Advertising Model Will Morph Into Something New

Google, Amazon, and the big social media networks like Facebook, Instagram and YouTube dominate digital commerce advertising. Google and Facebook combined take in 61% of all digital advertising spend in the U.S., on average.

Over $270 billion was spent globally on digital ads in 2018 alone. Americans are exposed to between 4,000 and 10,000 advertisements every single day—and at least 75% of them engage in at least one form of ad-blocking. Consumers are overwhelmed, jaded, and less and less likely than ever to click on traditional, “interruption-based” ads.

Hence in 2020 and beyond, we’ll see advertising become more non-traditional, experiential, and naturally embedded in everyday experiences. A great example is Procter & Gamble’s Bare Skin Chat YouTube series, which features relevant celebrities in entertaining videos that are both engaging and informational—and has millions of views. In 2020, digital commerce advertising  will be driven by creating experiences that consumers want.

5. Voice-Based Digital Commerce Will Generate Billions

Smart speakers are no passing trend. In 2018, there were 2.5 billion voice-enabled devices. Predictions are that by 2023 there will be 8 billion of them.

By some estimates, as many as half of all searches may be done by voice in 2020. And how about the voice-powered shopping market, specifically? Estimates are that the market is going to exceed $40 billion by 2022. If businesses are not optimizing the products and content on a website or app for voice search, then 2020  will see them upgrade.

The need for consistency

To drive consistency across this scope of technologies, a flexible and scalable CMS is paramount.  A headless content management system (CMS) is a key tool in empowering retailers to create content once and publish it everywhere.

Because a headless CMS has no built-in front-end system that determines how or where content will be displayed, content managers can serve consistent content experiences across websites, apps, chatbots, connected home devices, voice assistants, and more.

It is entirely possible that to span the most basic customer journey, a business will need AR app integration that allows shoppers to interact with digital products, facial recognition and smart software gathering in-person data.  The new reality of retail is not just the old adage that retail is detail but that detail is now in the highest of definition from multiple sources.


Sonja KotrotsosSonja KotrotsosOctober 21, 2019
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5min1934

The old war is ending.

A truce has been called in the 20-year battle between marketing and IT for the territory of Digital Experience. Enterprise architects are turning IT departments into business consultancies and marketing now frequently takes on the development capacities for digital. As a result, growth-hacking and T-shaped marketers made it into mainstream marketing teams in 2019.

In 2020, marketing will go one step further and include front end engineers into their teams. But because of this, another war stirs – the war for front-end developer talent is going to become incredibly fierce, incredibly quickly. And this may actually define the success of many businesses.

The lessons of history

Like all wars, there are lessons in history. For this particular battle, those lessons can be found in Photoshop. 

Twenty years ago, marketing made leaflets. Marketers looked at what topics would be interesting for the audience and what brand feel they wanted to portray. For the layout however, businesses used agencies. And when those agency relationships didn’t work as fast as they were needed, businesses hired photoshop guys internally. The resulting war for talent, ideas, and execution defined marketing in many industries and the impact is still felt today.

Now, leaflets and brochures are gone. Largely, at least.

The main channel of communication today is digital media, and the photoshop guys of digital media are front-end developers. 

A different digital battlefield

It is also worth noting that the ‘digital’ battlefield itself is changing. Businesses used to have templates and drag-and-drop teasers on a homepage in a content management system. That worked in the world of desktop web. Now, businesses and consumers live in the world of mobile experiences, smart spaces, and connected products. As a result, desktop websites will continue to lose importance year over year. 

2020 is the year marketing disciplines will need to be ready for this fight. Modern content management systems don’t do templates anymore. They focus on content delivery, speed, and versatility to deliver into these new channels and experiences. They cater to the philosophy of growth hacking and constantly testing assumptions. 

This new way of working starts with these new channels, increasingly employs personalisation in real-time, and tests and refines customer interactions. In this context, front-end developers will become the highly prized special forces that can define marketing success.

There is no way around this. Marketing needs front-end developers if the business wants to deliver the latest and greatest Digital Experience to customers. With Digital Experience being the main differentiator, a business cannot afford to fall behind. 

There will undoubtedly be casualties, but to the victor will go the spoils of keenly engaged customers ready and willing to engage with a business in a variety of ways.




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