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Adobe Summit 2021: Commerce at the Speed of Changing Customer Expectations

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In 2021, platforms like Adobe's are continuing to expand their capabilities to flex and scale commerce experiences in real-time, writes Digitas' Jack McGrath

Adobe Summit 2021: Commerce at the Speed of Changing Customer Expectations

After a year of working from makeshift home offices and celebrating holidays over Zoom, it is undeniable that Covid-19 has impacted how we behave in our day-to-day lives. Our new habits and preferences have also affected how businesses think about their commerce journeys. 

The speed of change was a major theme at Adobe Summit 2021. As director of product Chris Hedge put it, "People had to make a shift from going to the store to ordering online overnight...[and] businesses had to find new ways to take and fulfil orders and manage customer relationships one hundred percent virtually." 

From setting up new fulfilment methods to expanding social reach, it is a competitive imperative for companies to evolve as consumer expectations and behaviours change. In 2021, platforms like Adobe's are continuing to expand their capabilities to flex and scale commerce experiences in real-time.


Thinking hybrid 

In the past, one could neatly classify a given company's business model into one of two camps: business-to-business (B2B) or business-to-consumer (B2C). From platform selection to marketing strategy, this characterization would impact how a business would tackle digital commerce experiences. 

The traditional lines between B2B and B2C have broken down. B2B customers do not exist in a vacuum - they are constantly influenced by B2C experiences in their personal lives, so these expectations carry over to their work. In the B2C space, new fulfilment options such as curb side pickup have required business to rethink supply chains and workflows.

60% of Magento customers are currently supporting hybrid use cases, and this is a trend that Adobe's product leaders are doubling down on in their 2021 roadmap. With new go-to-market accelerators for common integrations, an increased emphasis on mobile conversion, and ongoing performance enhancements, the delineation between B2B and B2C experiences is disappearing and giving way to a wider set of use cases.


Consistent commerce experiences across channels

Just as buying behavior changed overnight, the channels where brands connect with consumers also shifted during the pandemic. There is no better example of this phenomenon than the 800% growth of TikTok's user base since 2018

Reaching users on emerging platforms requires a flexible, data-first understanding of commerce systems. The goal of channel expansion should be achieving consistency in brand voice while benefiting from what makes that channel unique. Take Instagram as an example — one would ideally target influencer marketing opportunities alongside direct social commerce.

Multi-channel support is a key pillar of Adobe's commerce vision. Providing the capabilities to efficiently repurpose content and optimize experiences to drive conversion, Adobe is planning to deliver new integration accelerators while expanding support for experience variations in 2021.


Achieving speed-to-personalisation

According to Epsilon, 80% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase from a brand when they are offered personalized experiences. Customers expect personalized experiences. Businesses want to provide them, but frequently hit stumbling blocks in implementation.

Two areas where AI can play a role in accelerating personalization are merchandising and search. Adobe's Intelligent Commerce feature set will allow companies to dip their toes in the waters of personalization. In 2021, a new recommendation engine will use computer vision to help provide product recommendations based on existing digital assets. Enhanced live search will analyse content and product data to provide increasingly relevant results to users.


Meeting consumers where they are

Understanding the personal journey that someone goes through to discover, research, and ultimately buy from a brand is crucial to delivering experiences that surprise and delight.

Ideally, platforms play off broader industry trends to give businesses avenues to quickly alleviate consumer pain points. Between the consolidation of B2B and B2C features, support for emerging channels, and new AI-supported personalization accelerators, Adobe's 2021 commerce roadmap is expanding the toolset for strategists, merchants, and experience designers to keep consumers at the centre of their products.


Jack McGrath is associate director, digital product management at Digitas

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Digitas USA, Thu, 06 May 2021 16:19:00 GMT