Shift in customer journey paves way for new e-commerce solutions

By Priit Liivak, Head of Engineering at Nortal

The number of channels used in e-commerce has increased significantly in the past decade, and customer behavior has also changed. People are now moving between different touch-points more than ever before to conclude a purchase.

They can start their interactions at home, using a voice assistant such as Google Home or Amazon Echo, receive reminders about the products they were researching when they are near a physical store and finally confirm their online order with their own fingerprint, using a mobile wallet. To provide such a seamless customer journey, vendors need to be constantly improving. 

Great personalization and customer experience are crucial for e-commerce, as customers want their experience online to be as close to the in-store experience as possible. Major e-commerce retailers are already striving to make things more personal and tangible online.

To achieve a better experience, additional touch points such as social bots have emerged. There have been changes in support systems as well; in addition to inventory management systems and CRM systems supporting businesses, tools for marketing automation and data analytics have found their place in the long list of systems of record. All this has added complexity to the technical architecture of digital commerce solutions.

Since all of these touch points have various links to different systems of record, a coherent API is required that provides intelligent integration across numerous devices and touch points. Such architecture also simplifies the collecting of telemetry and analyzing user behavior across touch points. Architecturally, such a solution seems to be creating a performance bottleneck and a single point of failure for the system as a whole. In reality, the picture is never that simple; the API layer can be designed to be scalable keeping resilience in mind.

As e-commerce takes place online, it also offers the potential to analyze customer behavior. The right analysis of the data can take manufacturing to a totally new level, where customers’ needs are understood from the very beginning.

One central system we are currently using in our e-commerce projects, acts as a platform for Revenue Science, enabling e-sellers to conveniently collect and store data about customer behavior and preferences. By combining customer data analytics and marketing and sales automation, manufacturers and service providers can identify what the customer really wants and needs. A business can then adjust its production process and operations to fit this demand.

At Nortal, we have successfully used an Elastic Path Commerce platform for numerous e-commerce projects in the US and Canada; this has simplified the complexity rather elegantly without reducing the flexibility our customers need.

Elastic Path Commerce is a headless, Hypermedia API enabled e-commerce integration platform. By combining various open-source technologies, an Elastic Path Cortex, and a patent-pending Hypermedia API, it is possible to intelligently unite the front and back-end, enabling IT-service providers and e-sellers to focus on the business logic beyond all different touch points and systems of record.

At the moment, we are developing a holistic digital commerce solution for one of the largest telecoms in the US – a solution that will eventually service approximately 100 million end users. This will provide a better experience for the end users and open additional opportunities for our clients to further improve their service quality.

In order to stay ahead of trends in e-commerce, we need to think what the near future could bring. Since the Internet of Things is gaining more ground, soon even your car or refrigerator might become a point of sale. Imagine how many touch points that could entail!

If Nortal’s e-commerce project in the US seems interesting, we have some job openings at the moment. Drop a line to Priit Liivak, Head of Engineering at Nortal to find out more about the project and the positions we are currently looking to fill. Priit can give you first-hand information from people behind this mega-project.

We are currently looking for people to work on this project in Vilnius, Tartu, and Tallinn.