Magento Imagine: What CX means in 2016

With five sessions dedicated to the topic on day two of the ecommerce event in Vegas, it’s fair to say that customer experience was one of the biggest themes to emerge this year.

Globally, merchants are making great strides towards providing a convenient and enjoyable omnichannel experience. But the question is: are brands truly harnessing the insights customers reveal at each step of their purchase journey?

CX talks were held by the likes of Springbot, Inc., Guidance alongside SOL Lingerie, Corra and last but not least, yours truly. The dotmailer session was led by our Founder & President Tink Taylor, who was joined on stage by Dormify’s Nicole Gardner and ELEMIS’ Jonny Stewart.

Nicole is the Chief Operating Officer of Dormify, a lifestyle brand and e-commerce business that’s transforming the way students decorate their dorms. Jonny heads up the ecommerce business for ELEMIS: a global spa and skincare brand, which has won more than 200 international awards.

At the start of the session, Tink referenced a quote from research body Walker Info, stating that CX will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator by 2020. This was the lynchpin of the discussion and Nicole and Jonny revealed how their brands are putting customers at the core.

Nicole explained how customer centricity has always been at the heart of Dormify: “Because our business started from the customer, every single thing we do is with the customer in mind.”

As a business that is primarily an ecommerce store, Dormify strives to include a human component in every aspect of the customer experience, from giving them the ability to live chat or tweet a question to hosting small trunk shows. But without a solid physical high-street presence, Dormify relies on email to discover what its customers are interested in and uses the insight to deliver the content, products and experience they want.

For example, Dormify has a Greek sorority product line featuring gear and gift items that fall outside the company’s core business of room décor. The company includes specific call-outs for the sorority buyer in its larger email campaigns and then creates a segmented list based on which customers are clicking on and engaging with that content. “We’re seeing incredible open and click-through rates and even revenue coming through our targeted messages to segments like this, despite the fact that it represents such a small portion of our subscriber base,” said Nicole.

As an omnichannel retailer operating since 1989, ELEMIS’ Jonny Stewart explained how the brand has always been focused on delivering a very high level of customer experience. But, as we live in an ever more digital age, ELEMIS’ challenge has been to deliver this same experience for its online customers at every touchpoint.

“Email marketing is an important part of our ecommerce strategy, because firstly it’s always been a great revenue driver for our ecommerce channel (over the past few years it’s probably been our number one), but as we begin to look at customer experience, it gives us the opportunity to talk to them on a one-to-one basis,” said Jonny.

“Our automated campaigns bring us much closer to emulating the in-store experience of talking with a salesperson. Just as a salesperson will try to find information from the customer and adapt the conversation accordingly, our email automations work in the same way to customers across the country.”

We picked up on a really interesting and related comment during Corra’s CX session on the same day, led by Michael Harvey: “To deliver a unified customer experience, you will need a unified commerce platform”. This is very much true of ELEMIS’ ecommerce program, which uses the dotmailer Magento connector to sync live customer data for smarter marketing automation, as Jonny explains: “The strength of dotmailer’s Magento connector enables us to pass almost any data attribute through from the ecommerce platform, including custom variables. This allows us to create personal, relevant, targeted communications for the customer.”

On the final day of the conference, during a keynote by Kai Schmidhuber of Frankfurt Airport, a similar theme around connected systems emerged. He discussed using Magento in conjunction with order management technology to provide a seamless commerce experience – enabling customers to buy in the air and collect when they land.

“Bringing this level of convenience to our customers is a reflection of our commitment to not only stay ahead of the technology curve, but to deliver great travel experiences to all who pass through our airport.”

It was clear from the dotmailer panel session that email marketing automation is the tool that enables both Dormify and ELEMIS deliver the experience its customers expect, in a scalable way. Their discussions also highlighted that CX is no longer just the responsibility of customer service staff: it spans marketing and any other teams who have an influence over the customers’ experience.

Learn more about customer experience and ecommerce in our whitepaper The race to retail relevancy.

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