Welcome to CxOTalk, coming to you from the
Oracle Modern CX Conference. We’re here in front of a live audience, and
I’m speaking with Scott Silverman and Katrina Gosek, two top-tier experts. We’re excited to talk with them about customer
experience and the future of commerce. I think, if we are talking about commerce
and the future of commerce, we should start with a discussion about customers. The question that we have to begin with is,
what’s going on with customers today? How are customers changing and their expectations
changing? To me, the one word that stands out is “impatient.” I feel that myself all the time, especially
around fulfillment and delivery. If I see that it’s going to take two days
to leave the warehouse and another four or five days to get to my house, I’m outraged. Products available on Amazon, for example,
that are now available in same day delivery or one-day delivery, it’s really unbelievable,
and it’s fueling, I think, a lot of impatience. I would agree with that. I think there is definitely a sense that everything
has to be right now all the time. I would just add to that that I think the
other expectation on top of that is that everything needs to be frictionless. Payments need to be easy. Shipping needs to be easy. I need to find the information easy. I need to get what I need quickly. Yeah, I would say immediacy and frictionless
is definitely at the core of consumer relationships these days. Customers are impatient, they’re not willing
to wait, and they simply want things to be as easy as possible. If they’re not easy, they’re going to click
from your site to your competitor’s site. I think customers own the brand for that reason. They have the ability to change how others
perceive you as well. They hold a lot of power because they can
jump from your site to another website very easily and very quickly. There are a lot of choices, so the key is
to keep their attention. Scott, Katrina said something quite interesting. She said consumers own the brand. What does that mean, “Consumers own the brand”? The days of the brand, from on high, managing,
being the tastemaker, dictating how the customer is going to interact with them, that’s so
far long gone. If you look at all the different interactions
you have with a company, I think the company’s job is to own as many of those moments as
possible. Whether you’re interacting with a sales associate
in a store or whether you’re on a website or using your mobile phone to get information
or searching on Google for the product, I think it’s really the brand’s job to own those
moments because, if you don’t, then somebody else is going to. Are we talking here about availability of
information and about touchpoints? Are these the two key issues that you’re both
getting at? You want to have the information you want
on your mobile phone, like Katrina was saying, from the store associate. You want that store associate to be smart. You want them to recognize who you are if
you have a past history there. It can be really frustrating if that’s not
recognized. You want to know quickly, is that item in
the back room or not? If I don’t see it on the shelf, don’t take
two or three minutes to go back and look. Tell me immediately or I’m going to lose my
patience and go elsewhere. I’m going to walk out or I’m going to go find
somewhere else to shop. It’s not just availability of information,
but there’s also a major technology component that feeds into this as well, like you just
mentioned two things. You mentioned performance, performance needs
to be there, and you mentioned mobile. I think the key is to really understand your
customer and then use technology to unlock the relationship with them, the way I see
technology playing a role in this interaction with consumers. All of these are, can we say, different facets
of creating that and keeping that customer relationship going. It’s about selling solutions, not selling
products. For the retailer, it’s about using and building
solutions and experiences, not like, “Oh, I just checked off the box. I’m now using this kind of product, and I’ve
enabled that or implemented it in some way.” That’s, I think, a really backward way of
looking at it. When you talk about building solutions, not
products, or from the retail point of view, creating broader end-to-end experiences, why
is this so hard? If you don’t know your consumer, your customer,
how could you possibly know what technology to implement to build a relationship with
them? I think what’s often missing in the e-commerce
shopping experience is not understanding the context of which the person is shopping or
their particular intent. I’ll give kind of a morbid example. Someone might be going to a department store
and they want to buy a black dress. Well, they could be buying that to go to a
cocktail party or they could be buying it for a funeral. Those are a completely different set of circumstances. I think, if you’re face-to-face with someone
in a store, you can size up what’s going on. When they’re interacting with you with a digital
interface, it’s really hard. But, I think the technology is getting there. There are ways to get some little clues along
the way so that you have a better understanding of that context and the circumstance of that
customer when they’re shopping with you. For me, it’s more understanding what technologies
your customers are using and then implementing an ecosystem that interacts with them. For example, if you know they are an influencer,
let’s say, track what they’re doing on social media. Try to find a way to connect it to the store. Try to find a way to get them to write reviews
to bolster the brand. Data influences some of it, but I think it
also has to do with understanding the context and where your customers are interacting with
you. Scott, you brought up that term “context.” Katrina is describing a more holistic view
of the customer. Does that cover what you meant by that context? Context would be the example. If someone is shopping with you, are they
in a hurry or are they browsing? How do you know when that interaction is happening? I think, the holistic view, you’ve got to
take into consideration what they may have looked at, where they looked at it, what’s
their relationship with that particular retailer, to be able to have the right kind of interaction
with that customer. How can a retailer maintain its brand through
all of these very fractured set of interactions that customers have with them? If customers are trying to find you online,
content is going to drive eyeballs to the site. So, make sure you’re showing up in Google
searches. But, more importantly, when the customer gets
to the site, make sure you’ve got a rich–the term now that’s being used is–lifestyle site:
videos, reviews, information about the products, and different ways of representing the physicality
of a product online. We’re seeing AR and VR becoming more and more
important. For me, staying present in the digital landscape
has a lot to do with the amount of content you’re creating around your products and making
sure it’s consistent. What advice do you both have for organizations
who are looking at this saying, “Yes, we need to do this! But, somehow it’s not happening”? Innovation has to be across the entire — it
has to be in the DNA. It has to be the air that you breathe. It’s culture. It’s having leadership that wants to enable
that and empowers people to bring up ideas. That, to me, is where innovation is really
going to happen. What is your summed up, distilled advice that
you would offer almost in a tweet? If I were to sum it up, I would say commerce
isn’t just commerce. It’s an entire ecosystem of interactions,
emotions with your customer. It’s a lot more than just a shopping cart. Scott, it looks like you’re going to get the
last word. Don’t squander your advantages, would be my
advice. Lean into them. If you have a passionate community of customers,
find a way to feed that passion. Okay. Thank you, everybody, for sitting through
this wonderful panel with these two excellent guests. Thank you. Thank you.