There are several aspects of the buying and selling experience, but to truly transcend that step-by-step view, it’s important to think of the entire process as a customer journey. Supporting and embracing the complete customer experience brings it all together. This is truly the pinnacle of the digital transformation. The buying, selling, and servicing experiences all together make up what we’re calling the commerce ecosystem. This represents an end-to-end connection from the consumer to the middle office, back office and the supply chain.
Thinking about this entire process as a single ecosystem has a transformative impact. It helps you precisely define and deliver the goods and services your customers want. It allows you to deliver them in the manner in which customers want to receive them. It takes into account the processes and technologies involved and considers them as contributing toward that single customer journey. The end result is a frictionless customer experience, which conveys demonstrable benefits to your business. The experience is smoother and more positive for the customer, so they enjoy the experience and return and make that an ongoing part of their journey.
This commerce ecosystem will manifest itself differently in different markets. A retail commerce ecosystem will be different than a finance or travel ecosystem. The characteristics each commerce ecosystem will share is they will all connect the entire journey of what a customer is ultimately trying to accomplish. This will help businesses understand, attract and retain new customers. By connecting the entire transaction lifecycle as an ecosystem, it is no longer a linear set of events. It brings them all together and focuses on the complete customer journey.
The discrete goals of the buying, selling, and servicing cycles ultimately represent the full experience. It is critical to share and maintain that knowledge of the customer throughout each part of the journey. When a customer is buying something, that relies on a certain set of systems. If they need services, that would be another set of systems. Maintaining that comprehensive knowledge and view of the customer throughout the entire journey can help your business present to the customer what they may require or desire, and drive new opportunities for revenue and improved customer experience. With a commerce ecosystem, what was once a disconnected experience is now fully connected.
To enable a frictionless customer experience, the outcome of a digital transformation is to establish a commerce ecosystem with a focus on the value provided to the user. The first steps are to remove unnecessary processes and systems that do not align with user value. Then connect all those aspects that once were disconnected and remove as much friction as possible including automating tasks so the user does not need to work so hard. From there, stay focused on the customer wants, needs and intent and only build up systems and processes that support the customer journey and ensure it remains frictionless. This invariably leads to cheaper and faster ways to develop and deliver new products and services.
By connecting and focusing on the customer journey first, you can experience reduced costs, simplified processes, more personalized transactions, a better view into the customer, and new opportunities for profit centers. Those are some strong returns on your investments.
Here is one example. Think of the differences between traditional taxi service and Uber rides. Uber has redefined the transportation experience by leveraging real-time data, creating easy instant access, and providing seamless payment processes. Uber has not only redefined and disrupted an age-old industry; it is prepared and able to launch into expanded ventures like Uber Eats. This is something traditional taxi companies are simply not prepared to accomplish. Uber maintains that customer knowledge and familiarity with customer experiences and preferences. It can then be ready to expand its revenue opportunities into other ventures like food delivery.
Also, from our experience we have seen that companies eliminate 30 percent of unnecessary overhead and significantly cut back on the number of screens they need to build by using the customer journey as the blueprint.
When thinking about the customer journey, consider the systems, processes, and employees that are all part of making it work. They should be all be taken into account when striving to build a better experience for the customer and anyone who supports the customer. Taken all together, it becomes one single ecosystem—the commerce ecosystem.