eCommerce News New Zealand logo
The latest digital commerce news for Kiwi businesses
Partner content
Story image

Interview: Sitecore explains why personalisation is key to customer experience

By Sara Barker
Wed 24 Nov 2021

There has never been a better time to hone a commerce strategy into a finely-tuned process that puts customer experience at the centre of every interaction. However, providing the best customer experience involves understanding customers of all types, whether business, consumer, human, or machine. We spoke to Sitecore's director, commerce, Mark Johnson, to find out more.

"The pandemic has created a unique situation where B2B and B2C businesses are focused on providing the best commerce experience. With that, businesses are also looking at how they can leverage systems within their existing MIS architecture, in their enterprise resource planning (ERP), in product information management, in warehouse management, and in their delivery systems."

In the past, monolithic product suites could have provided the way forward, but the rate of change is too rapid for traditional systems to keep up with. Now, the cloud and cloud-native software have helped organisations scale commerce and drive ROI, and there is no better example than the pandemic. 

Johnson says the pandemic started to take hold in the US on March 12th, 2020. By March 16th, businesses are up and running with their solutions - and that took just four days. That change is just not possible in a traditional monolithic orientation. 

"The pandemic is highlighting opportunities to think about what's really necessary and to become much more dynamic in the way things work for consumers."

Dynamic commerce approaches require an understanding of what consumers need. Sitecore believes that, in the future, successful brands will be the ones that realise commerce and personalisation go together.

"Commerce systems need to reorient themselves around personalisation and really understand what personalisation is. For example, Amazon was a basis for personalisation when they displayed things like 'people who bought X also bought Y'. That's not personalisation though, that's just coincidence and it has nothing to do with what a specific buyer actually needs. It's just a guess."

Johnson explains that personalisation takes two distinct forms: understanding customer data and using algorithms to understand the experience over time.

"Customer data focuses on understanding things such as demographics and data specific to that customer: who a customer is, where they are, what they are, how they interact, and how they search. For example, are they searching for certain types of products?

"Algorithms, within the context of artificial intelligence and machine learning, calculate that experience over time.  That means businesses get a better idea of what they need and where and how to get there. So, for example, the system knows where a buyer could go, so I could create a buying experience that is efficient, enjoyable, and effective. 

"For example, I go to a online store and I search for shoes. From there, I search for athletic shoes. The next time I go to that store, the store might lead me straight back to athletic shoes. Personalisation lifts conversion rates and provides context to the commerce experience."

But personalisation can be challenging without suitable systems and tools in place to produce and analyse that data.

"It's a challenge to build the algorithmic orientation that is able to track all of the experience metrics - like what buyers are looking for, how they're searching, and how many times they're looking for it - and then orient the experience over time."

Another challenge is applying the experience to machine-based orders, such as when machines automatically place orders for replacement parts. Again, algorithmic orientations need to understand when machines might start to place orders.

"In the past, personalisation was about configuration. Personalisation in the future is about mathematics and engineering. It's also about creating experiences based on on that all the associated data. That's really the data I want systems to understand about me, so I can get through that site faster and more effectively, and find what I need."

The future of commerce 

As commerce evolves through the pandemic and beyond, we asked what trends we can expect to see in the future.

1. Architecture will be more composable. Johnson says every organisation has different needs, so they will choose specific solutions that work for specific purposes and goals.

2. The Internet of Things will play a more significant part in eCommerce, particularly in the industrial sector and machine-based ordering.

3. Conversational commerce will also be more common, particularly within mobile applications. Johnson says, "Conversational commerce offers the ability for customers to tell a system what they need, rather than using keystrokes and traditional logic."

4. The metaverse orientation: This offers the ability to be in a virtual reality orientation and to order from that environment - whether in a recreational or an amusement-based virtual reality orientation, where it could be something as simple as ordering more tokens within a game environment. Soon, car companies will offer virtual test drives, for example. "The metaverse will drive many new commerce opportunities, and it's an exciting time," concludes Johnson.

Catch the Modern Commerce in Asia-Pacific webinar series here.

Check out Sitecore's interactive 2021 Holiday Trends Report here.

Related stories
Top stories
Story image
Cyber resilience
NZ’s Cyber Resilience Framework to be evolving and potentially automated
The government's already putting $2.4 million into the Cyber Resilience Framework in its initial stages, what is it and why is it important?
Story image
Sustainability
CDC hyperscale data centres now open in New Zealand
CDC Data Centres (CDC) says two new, state-of-the-art hyperscale data centres are now open for business in Auckland.
Story image
MarTech
CM Group recognised as Best Overall MarTech Company
MarTech Breakthrough has ranked CM Group as the Best Overall MarTech Company for the third year running and Cheetah Digital as Best Overall Marketing Campaign Management Solution.
Story image
Contact Centre
Treasure Data launches new customer experience functionality
Treasure Data has introduced a new strategic vision and product positioning for Customer Data Cloud, reflecting the company's focus.
Story image
Sustainability
NZ program recovers and recycles more than 177 tonnes of e-waste
The TechCollect NZ pilot program says its milestone of recovering and recycling more than 177 tonnes of ICT e-waste recognises the efforts of many.
Story image
Customer
OfficeMax NZ sees significant growth through Seismic partnership
OfficeMax New Zealand has announced it has seen a significant increase in customer and sales confidence as a result of Seismic’s digital enablement software.
Story image
Sales
BNZ launches first tap-on-phone point of sale app in NZ
Bank of New Zealand has launched BNZ Pay, an innovative mobile app for retailers that transforms an Android device into a contactless payment terminal. 
Story image
Apps
Freshworks integrates with Google's Business Messages
"The integration with Freshworks makes it fast and easy for businesses to have conversations with their customers within the Google apps."
Story image
Cloud
Microsoft and Auckland Transport announce new cloud agreement
Auckland Transport (AT) and Microsoft have announced a new cloud agreement aimed at promoting innovation, reducing costs and improving sustainability in transport services.
Story image
Cybersecurity
eCommerce fraud increasing pressure on businesses margins
It is vital for businesses to maximise the value of every dollar by turning away as many fraudulent actors as possible without blocking good customers."
Story image
eCommerce
Marketplacer and Intelligent Reach to help retailers sell online
Intelligent Reach can now support Marketplacer marketplaces that want to sell their products through other places, such as Google and Facebook, eBay and Amazon.
Story image
Remote Working
Mantel Group continues NZ expansion with Auckland office
"Our desire is to offer real understanding to our New Zealand clients, and help provide solutions that better their business.” 
Story image
Customer experience
BillingPlatform introduces new enhancements to revenue management services
Some of the new developments include hosted payment pages, and new and updated connectors to Salesforce, NetSuite, OneSource, Avalara and other enterprise systems.
Story image
Forrester
SAS is a leader in anti-money laundering - Forrester
The latest Forrester report revealed that SAS received the highest score in the anti-money laundering category of 15 vendors.
Story image
KICKS CREW
KICKS CREW selects Forter to help scale global eCommerce operations
KICKS CREW has selected Forter to help scale its global digital commerce operations.
Story image
Social Media
ActiveCampaign reveals consumers seek trusthworthy content
Consumers will engage with new brands across all channels, including online, in-store and social media, as long as the content is relevant and trustworthy.
Story image
Facial recognition
Māori data specialists not consulted on facial recognition technology - data sovereignty expert
Māori data specialists are accusing the government of ignoring them while going ahead and expanding the reach of facial recognition technology.
Story image
SaaS
OpenText launches new solutions on Salesforce AppExchange
Included in this latest launch is OpenText Core Content, a Content Services platform that customers can leverage to effectively manage their content.
Story image
New Zealand
Research finds Kiwis prefer real backdrops in video calls
New research from Natural Paint Co. has found that 74% of Kiwis prefer seeing a natural background behind people during video meetings.
Story image
Economics
9 in 10 retailers prepared for economic challenges this year
Some 9 in 10 retailers (86%) are prepared for continued inflation, higher interest rates and potentially lower consumer spending, according to new research.
Story image
Printers
Comedy legend Jimeoin fronts Epson advertising campaign in NZ and Australia
According to Epson the company’s EcoTank models now account for 74% of all printers sold in the category in New Zealand, alone.
Story image
Financials
Google NZ numbers show strong comprehensive profit increase
The latest financial report from Google New Zealand Limited has revealed an increase in total comprehensive profit of over $NZD 7 million.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Cyara rolls out comprehensive, automated chatbot feature
Cyara has unveiled new chatbot testing features with the latest release of Cyara Botium, creating a solution for comprehensive, automated chatbot testing and assurance.
Story image
Internet
InternetNZ appoints new chief executive. Will take over in October
InternetNZ has announced the appointment of its new chief executive, with Vivien Maidaborn taking over the role from interim chief Andrew Cushen in October.
Story image
Financial results
Facebook NZ financial report reveals notable revenue increase
Revenue from contracts with customers increased by $NZD 1,089,292 compared to 2020's figures.
Story image
Payments
Tranxactor Group to build customer loyalty with Oracle
Tranxactor has chosen Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) with Enterprise Database Service to allow it to provide brands with immersive customer engagement and loyalty programs.
Story image
Phishing
Akamai research finds PayPal security measures utilised in new phishing scam
New research from Akamai has found that a new threat actor is parasitising benign WordPress sites to execute an extensive PayPal phishing scam.
Story image
Revenue
IBM NZ sees significant revenue increase in latest report
IBM NZ has posted revenue of $172,449,000 for the financial year, according to its latest report, a year-over-year increase of over $47.5 million compared to $124,904,000 in 2020.
Story image
Cloud
Sitecore caters to modern marketing teams with CMS cloud launch
"Sitecore's move towards a composable SaaS offering for creating and delivering digital experiences is in line with what marketing teams are looking for.”
Story image
Tablets & laptops
Chromebook and tablet shipments see another rapid decline for the year
According to research from Canalys PC Analysis, Chromebook and tablet shipments have fallen for the fourth quarter in a row for Q2 of 2022.
Story image
Microsoft
Infobip’s SMS and WhatsApp services are now available through Microsoft
Infobip has integrated its WhatsApp and SMS channels through Microsoft Dynamics 365 Sales and Microsoft Dynamics 365 Marketing.
Story image
Planning
Digital key for smart investment in public infrastructure for NZ cities
Major public infrastructure projects can better manage risks of cost overruns and delays if they deploy data and digital tools at the earliest planning stages.
Story image
Revenue
Cisco NZ revenue declines by over $18.5 million - report
Cisco NZ has released its latest financial report, showing the company's total revenue has declined by more than $18.5 million year-over-year.
Story image
Commerce Commission
The NZ TCF endorses move by ComCom to promote TDR dispute scheme
The New Zealand Telecommunications Forum has welcomed the move by the Commerce Commission to further promote customers' access to the Telecommunications Dispute Resolution Scheme (TDR).
Story image
CRM
Forrester names Pega a Leader in CRM Solutions 2022 report
Forrester Research has named Pega a Leader among 11 competitors in The Forrester Wave: Core CRM Solutions, Q3 2022 report.
Story image
Google Cloud
Google Cloud to open first cloud region in NZ - among others
Google Cloud has announced plans to bring three new cloud regions, one each in New Zealand, Malaysia and Thailand.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Oracle unveils AI-powered application to automate sales
Oracle has unveiled the next generation of Fusion Sales, an application that automates sales and identifies the opportunities worth pursuing.
Story image
Customer
Airwallex launches an online payments app on Shopify
Airwallex has launched an online payments app on Shopify, allowing merchants to integrate a gateway plugin on their online store to accept payments from their global customers.
Story image
Sustainability
Visa launches Eco Benefits solutions in Australia and NZ
Eco Benefits is a suite of sustainability-focused solutions that will help Visa cardholders better understand the environmental impact of their payments.
Story image
ShopBack
Forter and ShopBack enhance partnership to further prevent fraud
Forter and ShopBack have enhanced their partnership with the addition of better eCommerce security solutions for customers.