Our Digital Retail Transformation Assembly is rapidly approaching, taking place on August 27-28 in Dallas!
In preparation for the event, we had the opportunity to sit down with Doug Heise, VP of marketing at CoreMedia, a global provider of digital experiences to gain a first-hand look at where the retail industry is heading, and how retailers can tackle the growing challenges that emerge in the sector.
Where do you see the retail industry heading, and what components do you think contribute to the major changes in the industry? (Content Matters – Evolving Trends)
In the future, success in the cutthroat world of retail will come down to content – more than ever before. Because better content, expertly managed across all touchpoints, helps organizations succeed, stores sell, and brands win market share. It’s the key ingredient in generating attention, building brands, or selling products. This is what the world’s most successful brands are already doing. And this is what we at CoreMedia want to share: the top strategies we’ve observed that will play an ever-increasing role in shaping the future of retail. But the world of commerce is complicated, and the future will only bring further complexity.
Personalization will increasingly become an integral part of the eCommerce experience, as well as an important element to monitor as digital privacy laws proliferate. As the digital era matures, consumers expect more personalized experiences. So online businesses must be able to deliver a customized experience that adapts to the behavior, history, and social connections of every visitor.
Artificial intelligence will also play a critical role – in fact, it’s already here. Seemingly every day brings some big announcement, from breakthrough findings in ALS research generated by AI data mining to AI-powered phone calls that sound convincingly human. Retailers are struggling to make sense of the new AI technologies and effectively implement it to impact the bottom line. But smart companies are increasingly using it to power important business transactions.
Another key trend is the ability to deploy frictional shopping experiences on any channel or device. Shoppable media will need to be available on mobile apps, messaging platforms, social networks, online marketplaces, and elsewhere. Because before a product gets ordered, it first has to be seen and look convincing.
Ultimately, success will come from delivering the right content, in the right context, at the right moment, at every stage of the customer journey.
The demands of the customer are constantly changing. How important do you think it is for brands to stay up to date with these expectations? (Scale and Agility)
The world of eCommerce is changing rapidly, as consumers increasingly expect a unified, sophisticated, and personalized experience across all touchpoints. Not only that, but the pace of change is accelerating as well. Scale and agility are essential. What if you needed to launch hundreds of microsites in a single day to compete? Or repurpose content immediately to take advantage of new channels or new devices?
And the need to unite commerce platforms and content management is more urgent than ever.
Successful companies know how important it is to launch projects quickly and innovate incrementally. They need the ability to enhance their online stores with engaging content and make their brand sites instantly shoppable without rebuilding existing sites or recreating front-end business logic.
In today’s online world, there’s no room for static, one-size-fits-all solutions. You need an open, modular architecture that supports every stage of development – from initial prototype to large-scale deployment. You need to master every integration pattern or uniting content and commerce – commerce-led, content-led, hybrid and headless. And you need to launch now with a fully managed, Cloud-based subscription service.
How has CoreMedia leveraged technology to create unique experiences in the retail industry? (Iconic Flagship Stores)
CoreMedia helps global brands to become winners in the digital age. And one way that we do this is by helping then create iconic Online Flagship Stores. This premium online store captures the essence of a brand by providing unique inspiring brand experiences seamlessly interwoven with the ability to interact with the brand and order everything a customer wants at a touch of a fingertip. Online Flagship Stores are iconic and experiential and almost always the biggest “store” in the company’s portfolio of shops.
Creating iconic customer experiences is a strategic move for brands because it’s the most effective way to avoid becoming a commodity. Becoming a commodity sucks the profit-making power out of a product. If you’re a commodity, there’s no real relationship between your brand and your customers. Which means you’ve got no pricing power and no competitive advantage. In other words, you lost.
Given this dynamic, successful brand compete mainly through better customer experiences and more successful branding. It’s the number one priority of marketing executives.
In the words of Alex Alexander, CIO of the Yoox Net-A-Porter Group, “It’s all about the experience.”
Our clients use our technology as a strategic content platform at the core of their value creation. They use it to innovate and do things they’d never thought of before. And they use it to drive change by repeatedly creating unique new experiences. Nothing holds them back to integrate other best-of-breed components quickly and efficiently.
CoreMedia strives to provide the Best CMS for Commerce by empowering leading brands around the world like the Yoox Net-A-Porter Group, Pandora A/S, Luxottica, Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, Boots, and many more.
How does CoreMedia help retailers accomplish their goals?
Delivering these kinds of iconic brand experiences – quickly and at scale – can be a challenge for many companies. There is a fundamental tension that many organizations have to balance: pursuing efficiency on one side and being iconic on the other. This underlying tension has far-reaching consequences for brand executives and for technology strategy. And it shapes the related market for customer experience technology.
Most organizations experience pressure to standardize in order to drive efficiency. To stay competitive, they strive to do more with less. Standardization and automation are effective ways to do this.
At the same time, organizations need to master another challenge: standing out from an abundance of other options. To be recognizable, brands have to be unique – ideally so unique they achieve iconic status. When that happens, they can be easily recognized from just a glimpse of their products, ads, or stores. Apple has achieved that status, as has Adidas, Nike, and many luxury brands.
But the customer experience will never become truly standardized (if it did then it would no longer provide differentiation). And based on this, we can make some predictions. Customer experiences will continue to see a high rate of innovation and evolution. The pressure to delight customers more the competition will only increase. The high rate of innovation will lead to an ever-changing environment at an increasing pace.
Such fast-changing scenarios are a good fit for certain kind of architectures and a fundamental challenge for others. Static or stiff structures usually break when the sand underneath is shifting. In software terms, this means monolithic platforms are generally a bad fit for developing iconic customer experiences. Brand executives expecting to create iconic customer experiences with a monolithic platform are destined to end up with an expensive project that produces an unremarkable customer experience.
CoreMedia helps retailers create these iconic shopping experience by adding the missing content pieces and making it easy for them to preview and deliver these new experiences in real-time across multiple touchpoints.
We subscribe to the power of open platforms, best-of-breed architectures, and continuous innovation. Our world-class CMS is easy to use and deploy – and can be modified to meet the most complex requirements. It integrates content from numerous sources, manages multiple brands and regions, and delivers personalized experiences to any device without delay or duplication.
And we provide integration with leading Artificial Intelligence engines to help publish content more efficiently and help shoppers find the products they love. CoreMedia offers sophisticated A.I.-based enhancements for both back-end editors and front-end customers, including faster, more accurate image tagging, landing-page chatbot assistants, and advanced product recommendations.
Finally, CoreMedia makes it easy to deliver highly customized digital experiences for any audience segment, leading to greater satisfaction and higher conversion rates.
We’re helping retailers stay one step ahead.
We are excited to have CoreMedia join us at our Digital Retail Transformation Assembly. Can you give us a preview of what will be showcased at the event?
We look forward to talking about the tremendous successes that we’ve had with our customers – including industry-leading B2C players such as Yoox-Net-a-Porter who manages the online stores for iconic brands such as Armani, Ferrari, Moncler, and Valentino, as well as B2B powerhouses such as Emerson Electric who uses our platform to unite multiple brands and provide a seamless brand experience for business buyers.
And, we’ll tell you about a customer who discovered a way to potentially double their existing online revenue with CoreMedia by converting more customers from their brand sites with shoppable content and deep, real-time eCommerce integrations
We also plan to demonstrate how our advanced content and digital asset management solution can enhance the capabilities of existing commercial and in-house e-commerce systems with a range of features including:
- Manage content with a central UI across repositories
- Preview the experience from image crops to mobile devices to digital signage
- Leverage pre-built shoppable media modules
- Launch new campaigns and landing pages quickly across multiple sites and regions
- Create personalized elements to enhance existing B2C and B2B commerce sites
- Automated content tagging & A.I. chatbot assistance
- Take advantage of the deepest OOTB integrations with all major commerce platforms and easily integrate homegrown systems with our eCommerce APIs
C-Level experts from across North America’s retail industry are coming together in Dallas next August to anticipate the highly complex digital retail environment that will develop over the next few years.
Through a cutting-edge program designed by the industry, for the industry, we will provide a fresh and up-to-date insight to help move your organization to the next level of digital leadership. A series of executive education roundtables, keynote presentations, collaborative think tanks, educational workshops, and networking sessions will offer industry-specific topics and trends to ensure your company sustains its competitive advantage.