The sale is not made at the checkout. So where should the focus be?

When it comes to commerce, the golden question for most companies is probably: "How do I get my consumers to purchase my products/services?" As straightforward as it is, this question may not be the end-all objective when it comes to implementing a successful commerce strategy. Jay Sanderson, global experience commerce product specialist, Sitecore, tells Marketing about the evolving purchase patterns in the commerce industry, and shares how data can be the make-or-break factor in brands' commerce strategies.

Sanderson (pictured) is a seasoned digital commerce strategist and practitioner. His experience of over 20 years spans a wide range of industries. Jay’s expertise of all things digital covers everything from traffic acquisition (SEM, SEO, programmatic) and onsite optimisation (CRO, growth hacking) to marketing automation, email marketing and business intelligence. He is a data driven digital professional who is passionate about increasing growth by improving customer experience, increasing lifetime customer value and reducing cost-per-acquisition through a variety of digital strategies.

Catch Sanderson and top-notch commerce experts from across the region at “Modern Commerce in Asia Pacific”, a FREE two-day virtual summit by Sitecore on 26-27 May for commerce, marketing and IT leaders, as they discuss commerce and marketing success strategies for 2020 and beyond. Click here for details. Sitecore's virtual summit is done in partnership with Marketing.

Marketing: With linearity no longer part of the purchase pattern, what should brands be measuring?

Sanderson: I think firstly it's important to point out that more so now than ever, we need to look beyond the transaction.

The sale, conceptually speaking, is not made at checkout, therefore it does not make sense to only optimise or build intelligence at this point alone.

We need to look at all of the contributing micro conversions that build purchase propensity.

Secondly, it is long overdue to look beyond the “standard” web metrics. By that I mean things like page views, bounce rates and visit duration, and concentrate more on the value of micro conversions or actions that denote true engagement aligning with business objectives.

Marketing: With a path to purchase that is becoming increasingly complex, what kind of data can be used to map out a cross-device customer journey?

Sanderson: Regardless of whether you are offering products or services, it is of great benefit to be able to measure true engagement across the whole spectrum, particularly at the product or catalog level, but also against areas such as campaigns and persona types. Then delving deeper into each of those areas will provide actionable insights for optimisation and also help drive and power an effective personalisation strategy.

Knowing how people consume and engage with content throughout their journey is key. What content is relevant and when is it most likely to be effective? Being able to tie true engagement data to dimensions such as device, time of day, campaign channels and personas allows marketers to optimise their ad spend as well as their onsite performance.

Marketing: How can data bridge the gap between marketing and sales?

Sanderson: Aggregating true engagement data across all the many relevant dimensions then identifying its correlation to revenue is key here. This can be somewhat of an evolutionary process as time to purchase, personas, seasons and the like all vary from business to business. Once proven however, this engagement value very much becomes a currency of its own within the organisation. Engagement data, having recognised value will create broader acceptance and business support to marketing’s efforts in its focuses on engagement driven acquisition and optimisation activities.

Marketing: Are you seeing any new shopping/purchase trends emerge in 2020 that might not have been predicted earlier in the year?

Sanderson: Well, as no one saw the current pandemic situation and its impact across the globe coming, no one could have predicted it. For many it’s really turning out to be a live, real-time lesson in economics. We have seen manufacturers have their supply chains severely disrupted and, in some cases, scrambling to find new ways to get their products to market.

It has highlighted, on one hand, which brands have a particularly strong capability when it comes to relying on a solely digital or no-touch experience, while on the other hand we have seen many retailers, both big and small, alter or extend their business models, to create new or additional revenue sources. Unfortunately, we have also seen larger brick-and-mortar brands have their only revenue channels severely severed due to having no alternative means of transaction.

To me, the main takeaway here is that we must recognise that today’s consumer has the ability to interact with brands on many different devices via and many different channels. Affording your customers the convenience, or in the current environment, necessity, to interact on their preferred or only available device or channel is paramount.

Related Articles:
Barriers to the perfect commerce experience: What's standing in your way?
Is your eCommerce platform getting lost in the sea of online stores?
The true marriage of experience and commerce
Opinion: Coping with the change in digital behaviour
Opinion: What does the future hold for modern commerce?