More and more customers are expecting an experience that is relevant, as this is what we see across every digital touchpoint that we access – whether it’s recommended films on Netflix, or targeted marketing e-mails from our favourite stores.

Relevance is no longer a ‘bonus’ within a marketing strategy: it’s the norm.

The biggest benefit of using Sitecore Experience Commerce as your eCommerce platform is that you can immediately tap into the marketing capabilities of Sitecore CMS, including its personalisation and optimisation features. Sitecore won the Best Personalization Platform award at the ClickZ Marketing Technology Awards 2019, and a Sitecore study in 2017 found that 79% of brands place a high priority on personalisation. However, many brands struggle to manage and maintain a personalisation strategy.

So how can you make this work for you?

What to do in… one week

Data is key to success. Without data, you can’t correctly measure where you’re at, or track the success of your marketing strategy.

Sitecore Experience Analytics are designed to track data in a qualitative, rather than a quantitative way. What this means is that rather than looking at numeric goals, such as the number of clicks, it looks at the value of each visitor. This allows you to understand how visitors are engaging as they move through your conversion funnel, and lets you nurture them to convert more highly, or with greater value.

Get started by defining your key online goals and tracking to see how they perform. We recommend using this data to then set up Engagement Values against each goal. For example, if you find that 20% of all visitors who click ‘add to basket’ then go on to complete the purchase, then the engagement value of ‘add to basket’ should be 20% of ‘purchase completion’. This will help you to see how your website is performing, and begin to understand how to better nurture your customers online.

What to do in… one quarter

With your analytics set up, you should be getting a clearer picture of how your visitors are behaving on-site and where the key opportunities sit to help them further.

Start using this in your first quarter to –

Optimise your default experience: Your data should be starting to inform you on the key areas where your customers are not moving down the funnel. Do you have a very high bounce rate on your homepage? Or perhaps a high number of your visitors abandon cart? Your data should already be starting to show where you have low hanging fruit, and an opportunity for quick wins. Sitecore’s AB and Multivariate Tests let you optimise these pages, automatically promoting the best-performing results based on real customer data.

Further Data and Usability TestsAs mentioned before, data is key to success. We highly recommend running usability tests to better understand the challenges and opportunities of your visitors, as well as their needs, desires, and challenges. This allows you to better understand your customers and tailor the digital experience to them. There are great tools as well like HotJar that can give you a wider view of the customer experience.

Build out Personas: This data can also allow you to start building out your personas. Personas can seem like a mammoth task – as a wide range of visitors will come to your site at any given time. It’s far more important to have 5 well-defined personas that you can invest in, than to have 20 ill-defined personas that you struggle to manage. We recommend using the 80/20 analysis to define the top 3-6 personas that deliver the most value for you.

What to do in… one year?

Within a year, you should have been able to use this initial set-up to develop a full digital marketing strategy. The key ways that Sitecore can help make this happen –

Profile CardsYou can map the personas that you’ve built to ‘Profile Cards’ within Sitecore. By tagging specific content with these Profile Cards, you can begin to map your visitors to Personas based on their on-site behaviour, and adapt their experience based on this. For example, if you have a clothing website, and one visitor is primarily searching through Maternity Clothes, you can begin to understand that they are likely the ‘Expectant Mother’ persona, and create a personalised experience based on this. For example – showing a different promo banner on the homepage, or recommending similar products within the Maternity range.

Personalise based on GoalsAs you nurture a visitor down a conversion funnel, there are various goals that they may reach along the way. As a visitor reaches each goal, you can then personalise the experience to help them meet the next key goal for your business. For example, if a customer signs up to your e-mail newsletter, you can then replace this Call to Action on your website with another one, such as ‘View Promo Codes’ or ‘Visit our Sales Page!’

Campaign landing pagesAs you invest in traffic-driving marketing campaigns you can also create custom experiences to then nurture this visitor better when they reach your website. For example, if a customer searched for ‘Sportswear’, and clicked through on your Google Adwords campaign, you can create a custom landing page which delivers relevant content for the ‘Fitness’ persona. This allows you to create a fully relevant website, even if you have a wide product range.

Intelligent SearchIntelligent Search engines can tie in with these features, so that the personalised experience follows through your whole visitor journey. For example, if we’re looking again at the case of the ‘Expectant Mother’, if a visitor on your website strongly fits this persona, and then searches for ‘blue dress’, you could promote blue dresses that sit within your maternity range as the first results shown. This works with Intelligent Search solution Coveo, which integrates seamlessly into Sitecore CMS, and is our recommended partner at Nemetos.

What else do you need to consider?

Sitecore Experience Commerce is a relatively new product, and as such it’s continuously evolving. One of the core setbacks for Personalisation, being able to attach Profile Cards to products, is only solved in version 9.1, for example. This means that there are some features that already exist within Sitecore CMS that are not yet available for Sitecore Experience Commerce. This includes features such as Headless.

Headless means that your digital content is running without the need of a client-facing web interface, which means that the full experience of your eCommerce solution can exist without your website. Because of this, you can deliver the same content anywhere, such as through an app or a third party website, whilst updating only one core solution. Sitecore is continuing to invest into Sitecore Experience Commerce, and features such as Headless are planned for future releases.

Most important of all – for features such as Personalisation to work, you need to ensure that your website is built according to Sitecore’s best practices. For example, having a website that is componentised. You need to ensure that your partner or internal development team are building the website in this way to make the most of this functionality.

This is exactly where a dedicated Sitecore agency, such as Nemetos Tanasuk, can help.

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