It’s not uncommon for consumers to have completely different experiences when shopping for similar products that are offered by different companies online. Unique selling points for tennis shoes, for example, are sure to differ from one brand to the next.
But when consumers can’t reconcile the marketing that sold them on the brand in the first place with the purchasing experience for the same company, then business is ultimately going to suffer.
A Tale of Two Departments
The rivalry that exists between many marketing and IT departments would make most die-hard sports fan blush. The battle for departmental supremacy highlights the approach that many businesses have typically taken in the past when keeping the two divisions competitive and separated from one another: They are two separate departments, period.
This ideology isn’t baseless, however, as IT has traditionally been the backbone of e-commerce platforms, and rightfully so. The average company’s IT department is responsible for the day-to-day operation of the company’s e-commerce platform 24 hours a day, 7 days a week—with no exceptions. This way of thinking drives the basic principle behind most IT departments: Get the user to the data.
It’s also obvious why companies allow their IT departments to take the helm when it comes to e-commerce: Because they know their stuff. After all, e-commerce platforms are very technical, database-driven programs that require the meticulous ability of the IT department to identify problems and create solutions on a moment’s notice.
Unfortunately, there are a few trade-offs when companies allow IT to take full control of an e-commerce platform. Although the website that showcases a company’s products may be a reliable and completely functional site, it’s also usually rather bland. Endless rows and columns, boring tables, and dry forms to fill out can take hopeful customers coming from a euphoric experience within the company’s marketing channels to complete disappointment once it’s time to purchase.
A marketing department, on the other hand, has the creative flair that’s needed to bring consumers in from a variety of sources, building the brand while communicating the company’s message in the process, but it’s probably lacking on the technical side.
Still, to deny that a marketing department doesn’t have a place in the e-commerce formula for success is to deny that consumers aren’t led to online purchases through omnichannel marketing, which is just plain wrong.
If one thing can be taken from the feuding between department heads over which side garners absolute control over a company’s e-commerce platform, it’s this: Companies—and their respective departments—that want to survive in the 21st century must reevaluate their approach to e-commerce altogether.
Creating Valuable Customer Experiences
Experience-driven commerce involves a complete rethinking of the long-thought traditional view that every step of a consumer’s purchasing journey is the responsibility of marketing—until it’s actually time to purchase.
This is exactly where tools like Adobe Experience Manager come into play. Such tools give companies the capability of providing their customers with memorable and personalized purchasing experiences through every potential channel, whether online, through mobile apps, or in-store.
What used to be a jarring experience for consumers when transitioning from a company’s product marketing site to the company’s subdomain where purchases are actually made can now be one seamless, natural experience for every customer that’s interested in your brand.
For example, imagine that a person is checking out a hotel’s website. If this shopper can be taken from a content-driven website that highlights the beautiful features of the hotel to the purchasing portal—without ever realizing a transition has been made—then a memorable and exciting experience has just been created for the consumer that won’t be soon forgotten.
Companies around the world—both large and small—are embracing this new approach to e-commerce. Correlating marketing strategies with IT to create shopping experiences for consumers creates valuable customer relationships while building the company brand.
Allowing marketing and IT departments to compete with one another for e-commerce clout is a thing of the past. Creating an environment where the two can work together to improve consumer experiences is the wave of the future.