Ecommerce Enters the Marketing Cloud: Insights from Adobe Summit 2014

Adobe Summit 2014 was a huge success. Over 7,000 marketers and technologists gathered in Salt Lake City, Utah to learn about the latest advancements in Adobe’s Marketing Cloud, see examples in action and liaise with those using the product.

Elastic Path was there in full force, celebrating our new partnership with Adobe with our booth, experience driven commerce retail demo and well-attended session called “The perfect union: Adding commerce to Adobe Marketing Cloud.”

Rising Consumer Expectations

As evidenced by the number of analytics-based session topics, Summit was a show more for the marketing technologist and the data scientist rather than the storytelling marketer of years past.

Summit also confirmed that realigning backend systems for emerging consumer expectations in this new economy is no small matter. Consider the following scenarios that were outlined in the keynote address by Brad Rencher, senior vice president and general manager responsible for driving Adobe’s Digital Marketing business:

  • We open up our retail app and take a picture of a product we like and we expect that product to show up on our doorstep the next day.
  • We are at dinner with family and friends and decide we want to split the tab. We want to take our smartphones and clink them together and by clinking them together we exchange the funds and guess what – no fuss.
  • I want to check into my hotel on my smartphone. On my way in, I check in and receive my room number. I walk into the hotel and go right past the line at the front desk, go up the elevator and use my smartphone to unlock the door.

Connecting the Dots

Rencher went on to explain that these scenarios are neither a front desk problem nor an app problem; they are a pan-enterprise problem. So let’s connect the dots. What are the steps an enterprise would have to take to make these scenarios a reality?

  • The retail app would require the functionality of linking the product photograph to the actual product – maybe something along the lines of facial recognition technology, beacon technology or QR code could be employed. Then there is the account login, the purchase flow and the delivery details. How much can be automated? What are the security concerns? How many interconnections have to be made between the physical and virtual world and within the backend systems of profile and account information to create such functionality? (Quick answer: A lot.)
  • For the scenario of splitting the tab, each phone would need to communicate with other phones, identify the user, the account and be able to safely and securely exchange funds. Questions of user experience, of logging everyone in, of permissions, of tracking the exchange and potentially reversing the exchange would all need to be mapped out.
  • The hotel check-in scenario is another example of physical and virtual worlds coming together. The traveler’s account with the hotel would need to be linked to the ability to assign a safe and secure passcode to the user as well as communicate with the physical lock. Issues of time expiry, ability to charge items to the account, permission for cleaning staff entry to the room would all need to be considered.

Necessary Reinvention

With consumers clamouring for the above scenarios, enterprises are feeling pressure to adapt their approach, services and prices and reinvent how they are developing and delivering their products.

As Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen noted:

Shifts in consumer behavior today are revolutionizing the enterprise and as marketers we’ve been paying attention and we see this coming. Enterprises are bringing marketing into the center of this enterprise revolution. The opportunity for marketers is to step up, to reinvent themselves, reinvent our job roles and what it means to connect with consumers. And this has created a fantastic opportunity to reimagine marketing. It’s much broader and more encompassing than ever before.

Rise of the Real Time Enterprise

All of these new features and functionalities call for new skill sets, new reporting chains, new metrics and, of course, a whole host of API-enabled, backend-supporting systems.

As Narayen remarked in his keynote address:

“In this new economy of disruption and innovation the ability to see and interact in real time is going to be a deal breaker as marketers demand tools that allow for real time intervention. The successful enterprise will operate in real time and will require every system in the enterprise to be interconnected to provide a unified view to, and of, the customer.”

Ecommerce for the Real Time Enterprise

This brave new world of reinvention also calls for ecommerce and the marketing cloud to seamlessly come together.

As such, Elastic Path Edition for Adobe Experience Manager was designed from the ground up to complement Adobe Experience Manager and provide these real time capabilities. Our integrated solution improves both the front-end shopping experience and back-end merchandising and marketing publishing processes. Marketing and IT departments now have the ability to manage and update storefront content delivery capabilities, search and navigational elements, checkout pages, product detail and imagery and many other capabilities that had previously operated in individual silos.

Come Test Drive Our API

Marketers in this new economy want to delight their customers by creating brand experiences on apps, mobile sites, interactive billboards and a variety of emerging touchpoints. We are excited to watch how our Adobe Experience Manager ecommerce offering will help marketers embed transactional capabilities in apps such as those used for retail, hotel check-ins and tab splitting.

At the heart of our solution is our Cortex ecommerce API, based on the same stringent Rest Level 3 standards Adobe bases their products. If you are a API developer and would like to explore how it brings real time enterprise capabilities to life, please come join us for a test drive at touchpoint-developers.elasticpath.com


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