May 26, 2023
Building a customer-centric tech stack? Experts share how to plan and optimize
As the e-commerce manager or marketer responsible for building your brand’s tech stack to grow awareness, community, and customer experiences – there’s good news and bad news.
The good news? You’re spoilt for choice and whatever your goal, there’s a solution out there to help.
The bad news? Navigating the huge range of intelligent solutions is not easy. There is so much information out there, it can be hard to know where to start and harder to determine what areas to focus on.
That’s why we banded together with our friends and partners from martech platforms, Klayvio, Yotpo, Gorgias, and Searchspring at a recent panel discussion at Evocative Media’s eCommerce Growth Summit. Together we outlined what to consider when commencing this intimidating task and provided tips to maximize impact in a fast-paced landscape, full of noise. Here are the three key considerations and strategies the team shared:
3 key considerations when planning your tech-stack
- Understanding the technical requirements for the goal you’re trying to achieve
There’s no need to overcomplicate – or overpay – for your tech stack when you’re only using one-tenth of the solution. Start by outlining the use cases, what you want to be able to achieve, and work backward from there. This will help you focus on best-in-breed, the solutions that are the experts in your specific needs, rather than locking yourself into a best-in-suite product that will likely provide less flexibility down the line.
- Invest in tech that plays nicely with other platforms.
Known in the industry as composable commerce, it’s about approaching your development by selecting best-in-breed components and combining, or ‘composing’ them into a customer application built for specific business needs. This will make life easier and allow you to create a full view of the customer across every single one of your touchpoints.
- Choose what is going to make your life easier.
Your tech stack can either be a lifesaver or the source of more headaches. Particularly for lean teams, focus on finding technology that will do the heavy lifting for you and complement the existing skill set of your team – rather than highlight any gaps – to free them up to add real value, analyze and optimize.
3 key strategies to focus on right now
Within the realm of eCommerce, there are numerous areas where brands can focus their efforts. The panel deliberated three specific examples that would have the biggest impact right now:
Understand customers across channels
Customers today experience your brand across so many digital channels, not to mention in-store, word-of-mouth, and the range of other traditional media.
Joining the dots to establish a ‘single customer view’ allows you to understand and cross-reference one person’s interactions across your website, paid search, customer service, in-store, organic social, SMS, email, and more. This is central to not only providing a consistent, personalized experience, but can also save significantly on unnecessary spend.
On an individual customer level, this could mean not wasting time and money targeting a customer with something they’ve already purchased in-store, or overspending one-time buyers.
More broadly, gaining insights into customers' cross-channel activities can help understand the behaviors and qualities associated with:
- High-value customers – identifying the customers with the highest lifetime value not only helps create personalized communications to strengthen these relationships, but reveals insights on the best way to acquire more.
- Inactive customers – catching inactive customers, those who haven’t shopped in a while but are still engaged in some capacity, before they tip over into being lapsed customers can be a powerful strategy. Understanding the triggers to look out for, when to intervene, and how to bring them back into the fold can prevent churn and re-engage a customer before it’s too late.
- Omnichannel customers – customers who shop in-store and online are significantly more valuable. Identifying opportunities to tempt customers into a new environment strengthens their relationship with your brand and increases customer loyalty and lifetime value.
Improve on-site experiences
As the cost to drive traffic continues to increase, it’s imperative to make a strong impression once your customers are on your website, to ensure they convert. To do this, bring it back to fundamentals. How easy is it for a user to find what they are looking for? What is the first thing they see at your top entry point and how are you engaging them effectively?
The three things that will send a customer from your site straight to a competitor:
- A site with thousands of products, and filtering by three options cuts it back to one page of products.
- Scrolling through pages and pages of products, only to lose your place when you navigate back from a product page.
- Searching for a black evening gown and getting everything but a black evening gown returned.
Customers who use search and filtering are high-intent shoppers and often four times more valuable, so using data to quantify your choices is critical to improving your search and filtering experience.
When optimizing your data-driven search experience, make sure to regularly audit your data, understand how data affects the shopper’s experience, and maintain a consistent data processes, even when there is movement in the team.
Start building a community from the first interaction
Many customers are data-rich and information poor – their data paints a broader picture than they are able to reflect themselves. Using data to identify customer groups, create segments and trigger automations for different stages of their lifecycle ensures you’re resonating with customers, new and old, in the right way, at the right time, in the right channel.
Collecting data during sign-up to kick off a welcome series automation is one of the earliest ways you can start building a long-term relationship and introduce your brand to new prospects step by step. If you sell a diverse range of products, this is a great chance to find out what they are interested in and begin to foster a personalized journey.
From there, it’s essential to follow a ‘learn, try, and iterate’ model to optimize these customer groups and understand what content and timeframes resonate with them the most. Don’t just rely on assumptions. Let the data dictate your next actions, analyzing your initial results and A/B testing changes and improvements.
While far from a finite list, these strategies serve as an excellent starting point for building a customer-centric martech stack. They can guide you in identifying the areas that can provide the biggest value now. Good luck to all entering this journey.
Learn more about how to achieve a single customer view and create segmentations that send the right message to the right audience, book a demo now.