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In episode 60 of the Customers Who Click podcast, I had the pleasure of speaking to James Denker about unified commerce.
Departmental Silos are a problem many organizations are struggling with today, but ultimately, the biggest victim in this is always the customer and their shopping experience. The most common example of this I see today is sending out an email campaign with a discount that can only be redeemed in physical stores as opposed to across all channels.
A great omnichannel strategy doesn’t happen by accident - it’s a direct result of linking all product and customer data together, in one platform: unified commerce. You can far more easily engage your customers in relevant ways if you’ve got data on all their touchpoints available.
Simple things like being able to time a review email based on the fulfilment date can make a big difference. Not to mention that by linking everything up, you also start to break down some of the walls that appear between or around certain departments.
James is the Director of Partnerships at Imagination Media, a digital agency helping ecommerce brands transform their tech stack to increase sales, decrease expenses and streamline their entire business. For the last ten years, he’s been managing, delivering, and selling various IT solutions in the private sector. In his free time, James enjoys cycling, piano, sports, flight instruction, volunteering, and traveling. You can connect with him on LinkedIn, Twitter or head over to https://www.imaginationmedia.com/.
02:36 - 08:02 - James Talks Us Through the Concept of Unified Commerce - Unified commerce is still something not many brands are aware of and even if they get the general idea, they mistake it for omnichannel strategy. Unified Commerce is about describing the active combining product and customer data, and then implementing it to deliver a more personalised omnichannel experience. Essentially, it takes the omnichannel much further by taking all the disconnected IT systems and replacing them with a single, centralised platform.
08:12 - 11:29 - Biggest Myths and Misconceptions about Unified Commerce - Mistaking omnichannel for unified commerce. Because omnichannel is often held together with manual processes and complex integrations, the strategy can create data silos, hinder efficiency, and grow quite expensive. Where unified commerce differs is that it removes the possibility of leaving out a section of data, because it is designed to ensure systems are communicating and data is freely moving.
11:52 - 20:55 - How Do Marketing Popups Fit in with Unified Commerce - While some brands are willing to keep their flagship stores open for brand awareness purposes (even if they’re losing money), eventually, the costs will take a toll on their revenue. As a result, we’ve been seeing more and more traditional advertising methods like popups as the brick-and-mortar reinvents itself (about time!). They’re a fantastic way to engage with your customers on a whole new level and, of course, boost your sales.
21:18 - 31:50 - Biggest Mistakes Brands Make when Operating Online & Offline - Lack of unified experiences online & in-store. Just going back to what I said earlier about offering discounts to all customers but only allowing them to redeem in-store - it’s a bad CX. It’s the same for loyalty programs; just look at Sephora’s Beauty Insider. Customers collect & redeem their points regardless whether they’re shopping online or in a physical store.
32:22 - 47:01 - Upcoming Trends with Unified Commerce - Progressive Web Apps and Augmented Reality & Virtual Reality. Take Twitter - there’s no browser window or nothing. There’s no difference in running it from an iPhone or an Android smartphone. That’s a great piece of CX right there. And then there are VR/AR and 3D product models which are proving to be more and more effective in increasing conversion rates (check out the stats from the recent Snap & Deloitte Digital Consumer AR global report).
47:10 - 48:36 - James’s Marketing Pet Peeves - Missing the unified commerce boat, and not leveraging the data from all those channels. Also, excessive automation that’s personal but not personalised. It comes down to some brands thinking that they know their customers when they really don't.
48:45 - 51:25 - James’s Underrated Aspect of Marketing - Branding / Copywriting - a lot of brands focus on paid media or Google search but they don’t put in place the correct content and systems that are going to convert off of that traffic. Mostly due to poor content and copywriting.If you’d like to hear more from James, you can connect with him on LinkedIn, Twitter or head over to https://www.imaginationmedia.com/.