Why did some companies thrive while others failed to survive the pandemic? Adobe’s key digital learnings for ambitious brands focused on growth serve as a benchmark. Start with this preview of The Alt-Experience, a five-part show about a new era of customer experience (CX), and check out the full series for sector predictions and strategies that work.
The big shift: why digital-first equals customer first
Digital adoption at speed pulled focus on factors separating success from extinction – like martech capability and new privacy policies. That leap amounted to 5-10 years of progress in 12 months and cemented the importance of CX at board level, as home working behaviour changed the world overnight.
This big shift could easily be recaptioned ‘The big spend’. Partly to denote sky-rocketing consumer spend in some categories. But mainly it captures the investment approach of forward-thinking operators: companies that had already invested in CX flourished in the second half of 2020, according to Adobe’s Digital Economy Index 2021.
We’re beyond brands
What are you selling? Now? Next? And where are you selling it? Business models are changing each month. In order to reach for excellence across CX today businesses must lean into paradigm shifts in an era that will continue to be known for disruption.
Do your current plans include Web 3.0? The metaverse – where the virtual universe and internet converge? “Consumers are no longer focused on just brands or products,” says Chris Sanderson, Founder of The Future Laboratory. “We start to see a shift into this world that’s a totally different platform for engagement, commerce, play and shopping.”
AI is the personalisation superpower
For all the talk about personalisation it’s still an emerging art-meets-science. And digital commerce teams now recognise just how much work needs to be done to personalise the customer journey for consumers and business buyers both.
“The beauty of machine learning and pattern recognition is you can go through tonnes of customer data points without a big team: algorithms can make recommendations as to who the perfect customers for your product or service are,” says Darrell Alfonso, Global Marketing Operations Manager of Amazon Web Services. “Historically, a lean team of marketers would have found that so difficult at scale.”
Digital-powered retail growth
What opportunities await your brand? Can you break into new demographics? How does that play out over each micro-touchpoint of the CX journey? Across different channels? Experimentation and testing is key. Furniture retailer Cox & Cox has exploited AR, smart tools and social media to bring their products ‘inside’ customers homes, with a revenue increase of over 150% this year to date. “We’re data-driven,” says Ecommerce Director Ashley Peet. “I encourage all ecommerce staff to continually test strategies – to always be learning and fully embrace tech.”
Empathy is the future of experience
Only one-in-five ‘mainstream CX’ companies, against those defined as ‘CX leaders’, have ‘significant insight’ into their customers’ mindset or friction points in the customer journey, according to Adobe’s 2021 Digital Trends report. Marketers excel at creating advertising that fosters an emotional bond, but by applying that skill in all parts of CX and over the long term, brands will thrive. Switching onto empathy is vital for ecommerce, underlines Chris Sanderson of The Future Laboratory, but how do you do that at scale? “That’s where technology eases us into this far more profound consumer experience, where brands have an umbrella-like view of their relationship with us.”
Dive into more trends, case studies and expert discussion in the full series of The Alt-Experience, hosted by journalist and broadcaster, Tina Daheley. For in-depth analysis of the CX evolution and the era of disruption, explore Adobe’s Digital Economy Index 2021.