Adobe Summit has wrapped up in Las Vegas, and while George Clooney and Donny Osmond were great as keynote speakers, there was one theme discussed among the thousands of attendees above all others, a thought that you just couldn’t shake: The digital “experience” is radically transforming business as we know it.
Adobe says that the Experience Business represents a new era in commerce — or a wave as Adobe calls it — that’s about creating an exceptional customer experience at every touchpoint. Brad Rencher, EVP of Adobe’s Digital Marketing team, explained in his keynote how the past 50 years have seen three major waves of digital disruption — the back-office of the 1960s, the Front-office wave, and now the digital experience wave.
“This wave is about goose bumps, it’s about smiles, about bringing people together,” Rencher noted. “It’s even about nothing – it’s about doing our job so well that consumers don’t even know that you and I exist.”
Adobe’s vision of the digital experience platform is one that starts with great content that moves consumers to action while building a strong brand. Digital experiences are not just about websites and mobile apps, either, Adobe says. They’re also about driving traffic to physical stores and leveraging the digital channel to enhance the physical world. To realize the full benefits of this approach, brands need to make, manage, monetize, and measure the digital experiences they provide to their customers. Brands must be obsessed with delivering compelling experiences and must adopt a holistic view of the digital experience platform.
Adobe, of course, provides much of the needed components for just such a platform. Indeed, Adobe made several product announcements at Adobe Summit, including major enhancements to Adobe Marketing Cloud, Experience Manager, Adobe Target for delivering personalized content to the right consumer at the right time and place, a new Experience Manager Mobile product, as well as updates to the way Adobe Marketing Cloud connects to other applications. It also gave a sneak preview of how these new technologies will enhance the shopping experience in the not-too-distant future.
On stage, Adobe’s Errol Denger, Director, Commerce Strategy, offered a glimpse of how Adobe Marketing Cloud, paired with a flexible commerce platform, can offer deep personalization for in-store and online shoppers.
Denger showed a prototype digital shopping assistant, comprised of an in-store touchscreen display and a camera that scanned a shopper’s body, recording more than 20 different characteristics and measurements. The data was fed back to Adobe Marketing Cloud from the in-store display in real-time using Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE). On the screen appeared personalization product recommendations, taking into account the just-scanned measurements, store inventory, and (if the shopper was logged into the store’s mobile app at the time) past purchase history and other specific preferences. The personalization was also synchronized in real-time to a companion app, built with Adobe Experience Manager. Denger cited Adobe research showing that 30% of shoppers are willing to authenticate on mobile apps while shopping in store in exchange for a more personalized shopping experience.
Denger also showed how the app can be used to summon in-store assistance. The entire demo was part of Adobe’s vision of a data-driven, immersive shopping experience that is taking over retail. Indeed, Adobe’s CEO says these types of experiences are the new normal and will impact every industry.
“Digital experiences today have the power to transform every aspect of our life. They change the way we think, the way we travel, spend our money, do our jobs, and even relate to the entire world around us,” said Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen. “We think experiences are the basis for new competition.”
In a just-released report from Gartner, analyst Jason Daigler wrote that the rise of the digital customer is shattering the familiar assumptions about traditional e-commerce.
“To keep pace with digital business and digital customer change, organizations need a technical architecture that is flexible, adaptable and scalable,” Daigler wrote. “A digital commerce site blends numerous applications and systems to create an online buying experience for digital customers.”
To achieve a complete digital experience platform, brands commonly supplement Adobe Marketing Cloud with products and services designed to extend and enhance the commerce experience. For example, businesses with physical retail stores and sales channel partners should consider content and product information syndication through a dedicated Product Information Management solution, known as a PIM. Similarly, a transactional ecommerce engine allows a brand to monetize and add merchandising capability to the digital experience platform. Both of those solutions are available from Adobe’s partners, and must be integrated into the overall digital experience platform in such a way that the customer never, ever knows about it, because it’s all seamless. Customers don’t see your channels (and never should), they only see your brand.
The concept of the digital experience platform has already been battle-tested in the field by major brands such as Breville, LifeWay, Barnes & Noble, and Wine.com.br.
To learn more about digital experience platforms, and what first steps you should take to plan a platform that’s unique to your organization, download the free ebook “The Future of Commerce” at http://www.elasticpath.com/resources/white-papers/ebook-future-commerce-critical-conversations-have-today-your-c-suite.