12-19-2016 - 341
First off let's figure out and put a definition behind intelligent commerce. Yes, it's a bit of industry jargon but the impacts go far beyond. When referring to intelligent commerce the biggest factor is that the system is able to make decisions and react to customer events in a way that automates the process of driving additional sales. In most cases, this involves using a set of data to make it such that a customer has a more frictionless buying experience wherever they shop from, with the software doing most of the work to shop for them. Intelligent commerce systems are aware of many forms of data, which help them make the decisions on behalf of each customer shopping your site/store. In this post, we'll explore what these data points are, how intelligent commerce systems makes decisions, enhancements to the customer experience and the simplicity experienced through it.
The true answer is, as much as you can. Data now has a prowess in almost all companies because the modern machines can use this to compute and extrapolate insight in order to help make decisions. Data can come from many sources but some of the best and most influential data comes from customer purchase history, cart abandonment, location, social, email open/click, search to name a few that we include automatically within Epic Commerce. Other factors may include trends, referral, coupon, length of being a customer and almost anything else you could think of. Other factors can come directly from the website itself such as items most viewed, time on product pages, the frequency of visits (online or in-store), up/downstream sites, country etc. But, what is all this supposed to do?
Now is the point that an intelligent commerce system will really shine. Once all data points are connected in, it's like a live stream input for which each input needs to have a decision based around it. So, each piece of data the intelligent commerce system gathers can then be used to present better shopping experiences for customers. This is a slick way of saying the system will make the process of getting this customer to purchase much easier. Decisions could be made to show a different set of 3 selected opening products to show a customer based on how close they are to the store, and the indication this customer is 47% more likely to buy online and pickup in stores compared to other customers. Another decision from the intelligent commerce system is to alert a customer of the product they abandoned within their cart as they come within a 2-mile radius of a store that has this product in stock. Alternatively, the intelligent commerce system can identify and suggest a product which the customer recently opened in an email sent from your email automation system. This functionality does not come too easy for most systems out there however. If you are currently utilizing Shopify, Magento, Big Commerce or most of the other systems out there you won't find a simple solution to utilize intelligent commerce. Instead, you'll need to invest in a custom program to automatically update these decisions, or you can send a migration request to a [email protected] where we will help you utilize this functionality natively through the Epic Commerce system. This leads us to another question however which is how much time and resources will this take to operate an intelligent commerce system?
Perhaps one of the best things about intelligent commerce is they help you accomplish more with less. Bringing in more sales with less effort is the idea behind it, and much of this is powered by the automation aspects of the Epic Commerce intelligent commerce system. I will focus my attention here (perhaps I'm biased ;-) because I know full well this is what is required in order to operate a full-scale intelligent commerce system. In reality, these systems, once set up can operate themselves, with you simply needing to make sure everything goes smooth with the delivery of product to the customer. Generally speaking here's what you should expect of your system. First, for an omnichannel retailer you'll want to add all your locations within the system. This may include central warehouses, as well as other retail store locations you might be operating. From there you need to either import or add your product set. Once this is in there with the categories, products, descriptions, prices etc. you'll want to focus your attention on setting up the automation settings and event-based triggers. Setting this up involves the creation of a few email templates such as cart abandonment, a recent purchase, local product availability, new referral points, new social reward, special coupons for select visitors etc. With these in place, it's simply a matter of setting the right decision guides. For instance, setting up an event so that an hour after a customer has added products to their cart, they will be sent an email which automatically triggers to encourage this customer to buy. You can imagine, once these are set in your system they work automatically to convert more customers than you were converting before. Once good thing about utilizing a system with the simple sophistication of Epic Commerce is that you can set as many event-based triggers as you can think of. This may include segmenting your event-based triggers so that it only reaches a very specific segment of customers. Any which way you look at it, once this is set up, you need only to worry about the putting the shipping label (or getting the product ready for in-store pickup) and placing it on the box. Enjoy!
One of the most important aspects of any intelligent commerce system is the ability to convert existing customers more frequently. There are several ways to do this but none are more important than the referral system included in an intelligent commerce system. A good referral program is as powerful as nearly any other method of marketing. It's personal, it provides incentives, and it can be easy and automated. A good referral system should immediately after purchase to give the customer a link with your incentive to get them to forward that link on to other individuals they know, or simply posting it to their social networks to see who might be intrigued by the offer. With the right type of incentives, customers will share their referral link, to earn their share of the incentive. In our experience and findings, the most effective incentive actually comes by offering unique merchandise and not so much money or points toward something. Again, this should all be automated and based on events. In Epic Commerce the referral program can be set up with any number of incentive options, and it will trigger based on any number of events (>$100 in their cart, recently bought something, have purchased more than once in the last month etc.). Using a referral system and providing the right type of incentives and outlets for sharing, if nothing else, always provides the right avenue for customers to spread the message.
This post may be extended in the future because there are certainly some other points which could be included. However, for now, this should give you a good idea of the power of intelligent commerce systems and how they impact your operations. If there are any individual questions about how this will work with your particular situation, please reach out to a [email protected] where we can assist you.
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