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by Nortal

Choosing an enterprise commerce solution

In the old days, choosing an enterprise commerce solution was comparatively easy. You choose your SAP or Oracle software, spend $100 million and three years on building and implementing it, and for the next five to 10 years, you can rest easy. That world has come and gone.

Today there are a lot more channels and opportunities for customers to contact a company and for companies to sell their products and services than ever before. Native social selling on platforms like Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat is a reality and customers have a variety of ways to contact businesses for customer service purposes. Be it via phone, online chatbots, Twitter, Facebook Messenger and more.

As a customer, I expect a smooth experience irrespective of the channel used. When I buy something natively on Facebook, I expect that order to show up in my customer account on the website for example.

The customer doesn’t care about different channels and technologies etc, they care about things working and getting their questions and concerns answered no matter the channel.

To make it a reality, all the different touch points and customer service channels need to be integrated and able to share data seamlessly and instantly. For companies, this creates a challenge. There are all these silos of information that don’t necessarily interact with each other and it creates a disjointed user experience.

“The opportunity for companies and their customers is to have one genuinely joined-up experience, an omnichannel experience, which is easy for the customers to use and is sensible and helpful for the companies that operate them to deploy and manage,” says Adrian Whitehouse, Director of Business Development at Elastic Path 

A novel solution

One company that has taken this issue to heart, is Carnival Cruise Line. They have developed an “ocean medallion” – a wearable device that personalizes a host of guest experiences onboard Carnivals cruise ships.

It works by interacting with thousands of sensors onboard, learns from its users and then uses that information to anticipate what guests want and more importantly when they want it without the customers having to lift a finger. It’s all seamless.

In order to enable these and similar seamless experiences, companies must accept that no platform is going to have each and every feature out of the box, and instead focus on “platforms that enable you to innovate, to experiment, to try something new, to build experiences.” This according to Sal Visca, CTO from Elastic Path.

Mikael Gummerus, Founder & CEO at Frosmo agrees and adds that the value for headless system like Elastic Path is that it allows faster experimentation, and it sort of acknowledges that “hey we don’t know what the future is going to be like, so that is why we need to have this flexibility”. Unlike this age of like “hey let’s buy the perfect solution that will work for the next ten years” Buying a perfect solution is no longer a realistic option.”

Technology is a notoriously difficult sector to make predictions in, 10 years ago barely anyone knew about Uber or Airbnb – today they dominate their respective sectors. Sal from Elastic Path adds that “the last 10 have seen incredible change, imagine what the next 10 years might bring?”

No matter what the future holds, the platforms and systems you have chosen to operate your business have to be ready for what’s coming. Are yours?

This article is based on our podcast episode titled “360° omnichannel buying experience”

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