Devising Digital Experiences that Delight
Devising Custom Digital Experiences
Along with devising unique and intriguing physical and digital brand spaces, the ability to create custom experiences that delight consumers is one of the most powerful tools brands have in their brand-building arsenal today. In 2019, consumers no longer expect to simply go online to buy an item or order a service – they expect to be delighted by holistic experiences custom-built around their interests, tastes and preferences. Luckily, modern brands have all the data and technology tools at their disposal to make this happen. They typically start by sensibly segmenting their target audiences and getting to know the segment groups better – and in turn, devising the e-stores, shopping experiences, and branded spaces these specific groups are looking for.
Tracking Online User Behavior
One of the accessible ways for brands to learn more about their users online is through tracking browsing and shopping behavior by using cookies. Nearly all commercial and even non-commercial websites engage in some type of cookie tracking nowadays. At present, it’s not certain whether the future ePrivacy regulations that the EU is considering adopting will severely limit this practice.
At the time this article was written, in most EU countries cookies can still be fired without the explicit advance agreement of the users, if they are notified about the types of cookies being collected throughout the session. The mandatory notification is typically accomplished by displaying visual cookie collection banners when a user first visits a given website. The most commonly collected Google Analytics cookies track user browsing behavior across channels, browsers and devices, though this is done anonymously. As former HP CEO Carly Fiorina once famously asserted, ‘the goal is to turn data into information and information into insights.’
Monetizing Online Analytics
An even more advanced method of understanding consumer behavior online is tracking website user engagement by using qualitative analytics tools. Heatmap and recording tools like Hotjar, Freshmarketer and Mouseflow are some examples of analytics tech capable of collecting detailed user behavior data, including specific content area clicks and interactions. They are also able to solicit and store user feedback using on-site surveys and polls. Having these types of insights at their fingertips helps organizations improve their online conversion funnels and drive conversion rates through a combination of UX, CTAs and targeted sales mechanisms.
Tracking E-commerce Trends
For brands that sell directly to consumers, it is relatively easy to analyze browsing and viewing data to better understand what makes users buy certain items vs. others. Advanced e-commerce analytics can help brands upsell, cross-sell and resell. On e-retailer websites, A/B testing can also help find the winning formula combination of user interface, price promotion mechanisms and CTAs (be it pop-up windows, newsletter signups or simply graphics).
For companies that rely on third-party online retailers like Amazon to sell their merchandise, e-shopper trends are also available – albeit, the analytics provided are limited by the e-retailers’ desire to control the data and with it, shoppers. With Amazon, there is an added competitive element as it also sells its own white label products where margins are considerably higher. Thus, it’s in Amazon’s best interest to push its own products vs. those they merely resell, resulting in a de facto conflict of interest. These dynamics are largely invisible to the end shopper, however, as product search results are mixed and driven by sophisticated proprietary algorithms.
Digital Experience Platforms
Digital experience platforms, or DXPs, are being increasingly adopted by organizations as they move from web-centric to more pervasive, multi-channel digital experiences. These platforms are, for the most part, evolved web portals, web content management systems, or enterprise collaboration systems that can offer better, more personalized user experiences. They combine different stacks of technologies and tools to deliver integrated solutions accessible across various touchpoints.
Selecting the Right DXP
DXPs can be used to devise, launch and maintain web portals, mobile apps and various other consumer-facing digital experiences. Most modern DXP platforms include content management, collaboration, and analytics tools and multi-channel support. The biggest upside to implementing a digital experience system is the ability to offer an integrated platform to all stakeholders to access and interact on, including suppliers, partners, team members, and customers. Although there are several robust out-of-the-box DXP platforms available on the market, enterprises with highly specific needs may require custom solutions that accommodate all their marketing and business development requirements.