Ascend is Episerver’s largest annual community event, bringing together the community of digital marketers, technologists, and e-commerce leaders to share their strategies for driving growth through digital transformation using the Episerver digital experience platform.
To celebrate Episerver’s 25th birthday, a core topic on the agenda for Ascend London was customer-centricity; how to become more customer-focused and how Episerver are committed to continuing to delight their own customers.
Customer-Centricity = Human strategy
Justin Anovick, Chief Product Officer at Episerver, opened Episerver Ascend with pivotal message around how to become more customer-focused. Justin explained that it’s easy to quickly meet customer needs and has become marketers’ main focus, but further consideration is required to become truly customer-centric.
So to become truly customer-centric, we need to better understand the intent of customers and treat them like humans at every interaction or customer touchpoint. To become more customer-centric, we need to replicate human interactions digitally.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re raising awareness of a cause, selling a physical product that can be added to an e-commerce basket, providing a service, or imparting information – everything of value can be classed as a product which is why Episerver have adopted the ideal blend of content and commerce that work in perfect harmony with each other. These range from the ability to drive product recommendations that are relevant to the customer to guiding your customer to self-direct through your site with effective signposting and content that is relevant to where they are in their buying and decision-making process.
Justin used the analogy of self-serving to be similar to GPS; users set a desired end position and the GPS calculates and guides the user on the best route to go.
Content and Commerce Working in Harmony
The ‘Zero Moment of Truth’ (ZMOT) is a term devised by Google in 2011, as a development on the ‘First Moment of Truth’ (FMOT) and ‘Second Moment of Truth’ (SMOT) customers experience as part of a standard buying cycle. These two events occur when a customer is first confronted with a product, and at later stage after purchasing where their experience of the product influences whether they will make repeat purchases.
Google’s ZMOT represents how content can influence a customer’s buying decision at the various touchpoints before physically interacting with the product, brand, or service at the FMOT stage. This could range from digital advertising to thought leadership pieces and customer reviews. This ZMOT, or research, stage is a critical conversion point in a customer’s buying journey as customers continue to research a product or service before purchasing with up to 99 per cent of shoppers influenced at the ZMOT stage. This ideal partnership of content and commerce working in harmony together continues to form a central component of Episerver’s GTM strategy.
Episerver’s Digital Agility Model
While Episerver is developing technology to enable brands to become more customer-centric and better connect with their customers, they are also looking at how they can improve relationships with their existing customer base.
At Netcel, we’ve been working in close partnership with Episerver to help businesses improve customer experiences through transforming their digital operations. One of the tools we’ve been using to achieve this is the Episerver Digital Agility Model.
The Agility Model outlines core areas of focus for a business to improve their digital agility. There are four stages of agility in the model (Crawl, Walk, Run, and Fly). Once a business completes the exercise, they’ll have a greater understanding of their current digital maturity and the various steps required in order to improve their agility and determine which technology investments are right to achieve their digital goals.
The Roadmap to Customer-Centricity
So what are the next steps for your organisation to become more customer-centric? The good news is with Episerver’s ongoing advancements, the technology is already at your fingertips; it’s now about how your implementation and time is best invested.
Every business sells in some form of capacity. Therefore, you need to provide guidance and self-direction to improve your customer journeys, increase conversion, and improve the propensity for repeat purchases.