Updated: Jan 25, 2020
Happy New Week! In our previous post, we mentioned how consumers today are becoming hyperconnected across multiple devices. As a result, the online user experience is becoming more fragmented, creating challenges in creating cohesive, cross-channel marketing experiences for clients consumers.
With 5G and Web 3.0 looming, we thought fitting to examine the principles behind reaching consumers in an ever more hyperconnected world. When considering retail, these principles should be incorporated with the adoption of unified commerce business designs to help deliver omni-channel experience by replacing disconnected channels/ systems with a single commerce platform. Ultimately, this will allow marketers to continue be as responsive and usable for consumers as they need, creating the seamless experience they expect.
Where Does This Increase Originate From?
The extent of hyperconnectivity is clear, but where is this heightened connectivity stemming from? IoT, IoT and more IoT. In definition, "The internet of things, or IoT, is a system of interrelated computing devices, mechanical and digital machines, objects, animals or people that are provided with unique identifiers (UIDs) and the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction."
How connected are we? According to the GlobalWebIndex, and reflected below, in 2018 the average global digital consumer is connected to 3.64 devices.
Why Does this Matter to Marketing?
The problem with this ecosystem as beautiful as it is, is that it is fragmented, meaning that consumers today use multiple devices to interact with brands. Not only this, but research indicates that digital consumers will use multiple devices at the same time during their web interactions, particularly during online purchasing transactions. The same research shows that 80% of consumers bounce between multiple devices, and 40% of online transactions involve multiple devices along the way.
This means through the online shopping floop (compared to the classic funnel above), the user may see some lead generating content on their mobile that sparks interest, leading them to explore further on their desktops, and order from their iPad during their plush-couch evening wind down. As marketers, it is therefore our job to keep brand browsing experiences cohesive. This is especially true in a time where the online user is truly aware of the they have power (literally at their fingertips), to simply unsubscribe and disengage.
What should we Prioritize in Marketing to Cope with Elevated Hyperconnectivity?
As marketers, it is therefore our job to keep the online brand browsing experience cohesive and seamless. This is especially true in a time where the online user is truly aware of the they have power (literally at their fingertips), to simply unsubscribe and disengage. To this point, there are some actions and behaviors we can employ in order to cater to the hyperconnected consumer.
These are timing & reasoning, personalization, responsiveness, consistency, and security. We detailed personalization practices in our last blog post, and responsiveness within its body, so our discussion here will focus on the three other guiding considerations. As stated at the beginning of this post, these principles should be integrated with a unified commerce approach when considering retail, which we will also elaborate upon.
Timing & Reasoning
Principally, we must remember that there are specific times and reasons for using online channels, and we must be aware of when is best to utilize each. That is, the marketing that occurs prior to a sale, service during a sale, and the customer care and post-marketing after the sale are all phases of the customer experience and each channel has its own pros and cons respective of these.
Therefore, we must develop a strong recognition of the most appropriate times (situations) to use each channel and the reasoning behind it. We must then harness this knowledge to deliver marketing content when it is most appropriate for the consumer based on their preferences whilst remaining aware of how each channel works in accordance with the other(s).
We have mentioned how because of increased hyperconnectivity, the online browsing experience, and the online purchasing pathway is becoming more and more fragmented. Consequentially, it is more important than ever for marketing strategy to be consistent across the board. The user is already having a separated experience as it is, so there's no need for marketers to exacerbate it further.
Rather, we need to diminish the feeling of fragmentation, which can be aided through consistent marketing. This first means building concrete branding, that delivers a consistent image, through a defined personality, all the time to the consumer. What a user sees and feels about a brand on Instagram, shouldn't be different to their email experience. This is important as the average revenue increase attributed to always presenting the brand consistently is 23%.
With device capacity increasing, the security threats posed to consumers, also increases. The sense of this is made more apparent with recent allegations against big corporations such as Facebook bringing the issue under the mainstream light. Why does this matter to marketing? From a branding perspective, we live in a time where consumers now see online security issues as a reason to disengage with a brand- 84% of people will not make a purchase if they are dealing with an unsecured website.
However, it is also an opportunity for businesses to offer their consumers assurance that online interactions with your brand itself, are safe, and secure. The outcome of making this information easily available to your consumer base, is that they will have an increased degree of trust in your brand, and be more willing to engage.
What is Unified Commerce, how does it Differ from Omni-Channel Design, and why use it?
When considering the retail side of online marketing, there is an increasing buzz around the business design of unified commerce, over omni-channel approaches. To define, "Unified commerce is a business design that leverages a harmonious integration of retail processes/systems to provide full transparency of consumers on the back end and seamless customer experiences on the front end, regardless of the journey taken to make a purchase." To see a visual representation, look above. A single, centralized platform for all customer engagement points (web, mobile, POS, call center, etc.) is the driving principle behind unified commerce.
How does this differ from omni-channel? With omni-channel, we essentially have many versions of the truth, because of the patchwork of disconnected business applications. With unified commerce, these worlds are united, in real-time, across all devices. This integration across all platforms drives consumers moving from one touchpoint to another with the consistency and a continuation of personalization we have talked about before, creating a seamless experience.
But could this just be more retail-jargon? No, 78% of retailers state they plan to implement a unified commerce platform into their strategy within the next 5 years.
The most important part of unified commerce is the middleware layer, a specific piece of software that connects the dots between each channel so data can be linked in real time. Yes, many already made steep investments in technologies they currently use, but it now essentially to unify channel experiences in order to maintain seamlessness between each stage of the purchasing process. We must therefore make sure that we have the necessary technological foundation to make such changes, and that we have an understanding of exactly what each of those channel experiences is, as well as what they entail for the consumer.
Conclusively, adopting a unified commerce strategy will counter the fragmented user experience by allowing marketers to deliver relevant content at a more precise time because of the real-time unity between channel experiences it delivers.
As consumers become increasingly hyperconnected, their browsing experience is under threat of becoming more fragmented. This makes it more difficult for marketers to deliver a synchronized, responsive message, but by following some guiding principles, we can maintain a seamless delivery. These principles are to time delivery appropriately and in the right situation, to be consistent across the board in your actions and behaviors, and to offer consumers security in practice. Lastly, we should contemplate shifting away from popular omni-channel strategies, and begin shifting towards unified commerce designs.
If you would like to know more about anything you have read within this article, don't hesitate to reach out! Digi Digs offers first-hand experience working with such principles, and we can aid with applications of these digital marketing principles. Also, feel free to like, or share our writings, and join our blog to comment and receive additional perks!