“Customer experience as competitive advantage” – Interview with Handelskraft Speaker Timo Kohlberg from Adobe

Photo: Timo Kohlberg, Product Marketing Manager at Adobe Systems
Photo: Timo Kohlberg, Product Marketing Manager at Adobe Systems

Today, the customer is in control, no matter in what vertical or market. That is why it is extremely important for brands to provide superior customer service and deliver personalised experiences on any device, touchpoint or channel. In this context, capturing and using customer data, plays a critical role for brands, whether in retail or even in B2B companies. The implementation of data-driven marketing techniques can lead to higher revenues and potentially enhances loyalty throughout the customer lifecycle. In a recent interview, Timo Kohlberg, Product Marketing Manager at Adobe Systems has shared some first insights, on how retail brands can utilise data to turn every customer interaction into an experience. He will host a session on this topic at our Handelskraft Conference 2016.

Q: What are the challenges of data-driven commerce for retailers?

If you look at the state of digital transformation, retail is pretty much ahead of other verticals. Still many retail brands struggle to have a unified view on the customer: There are disparate data sources, different technologies for different (on- and offline) channels and many departments still work in silos. Overcoming these challenges unveils a huge potential in customer communication.

Q: What do you think are the main benefits of implementing data-driven marketing solutions?

One of the main goals for every retailer is to increase revenue. However, how can data support the growth of your business? By tailoring each interaction to the customer behaviour there are many opportunities for cross- and upsell, as well as increasing the average order value (AOV).

A good example of revenue potential can be taken from the ecommerce sector. According to Business Insider, about $4 trillion worth of merchandise have been abandoned in online shopping carts this year, and more than 60% of that is potentially recoverable. By combining data from a (web) analytics solution and using the abandoned cart event as a trigger for a campaign management solution, brands can exploit the remarketing opportunity and increase conversion.

Another benefit of data-driven commerce is a more consistent experience on each touchpoint. By leveraging a 360°-view on the customer, retail brands are able to create more personalised, contextual and relevant messages and this on the right channel and at the right time. A positive side effect is that customers will also receive less messages than before. These benefits will not only lead to higher satisfaction, but also to better customer loyalty throughout the whole customer lifecycle.

Q: Is there any country that stands out in terms of data-driven commerce?

It’s a neck-and-neck race, as marketing cloud technology is virtually available worldwide. From my point of view, the US is a bit ahead of the rest of the world when it comes to digital transformation, specifically in retail. The main difference I see is the digital mind-set and the way companies are structured. Many US retailers have defined customer experience as a competitive advantage and not just as something you have to do because your customers are asking for it. They strive for meaningful experiences, whether in the web shop, in email or app communications or at the POS. Europe is a little behind, but especially the UK is catching up on data-driven commerce. Since a digital transformation process takes between two and five years, companies better start sooner rather than later.

Q: Could you give us a brief overview on the content of your session at Handelskraft 2016?

In one sentence: Make customer data the foundation of your business to deliver better customer experience and drive revenue. In the context of cross-channel marketing, the concept of data-driven commerce can be summarised as a triangle with three dimensions:

  • The first angle is the content. The more personalised interactions you have with your customers, the more content you need to create and manage.
  • The second angle is the data. Brands need to start working with the huge amount of data they already have in-house. With the help of marketing software, they can then capture every interaction with the customer and combine these with the in-house data to create a unified customer view.
  • Finally, the third part of the triangle is execution: By combining content and data, brands are able to deliver consistent messages and offers in real-time across all relevant touchpoints. These could be email, website, text message, direct mail, social media, mobile app, point of sale, call centre, or even channels emerging out of the Internet of Things.

Q: What innovations are in place in this sector?

I see three main trends in retail:

  • Digitalisation of the point of sale. For example, many retail brands are looking into using Beacon technology now. This provides very new ways of interacting with their customers, for example by sending personalised offers based on the behaviour and time spent on the store level. Opted-in customers could for example receive push notifications, taking into account their transaction history and their preferences in the store to buy online or via app. This is a huge opportunity for retail brands to bridge on- and offline worlds.
  • Using messengers as marketing and service channels: In Germany, Zalando started launching a test campaign using WhatsApp as an additional channel to advise customers on their style and make them individual product recommendations.
  • A third aspect would be personalisation. How can companies gather more data on their customers? A good example is the German brand ABOUT YOU. Part of the registration process with their app, is a style quiz, where a new customer can swipe left or right to choose their favourite style or brand (like on the dating app Tinder). All captured insights will be stored in the customer profile and then used for personalised product recommendations.

Q: Finally, what are your expectations for the Handelskraft 2016?

From a participant perspective, my expectation is to get a good overview on trends, innovation and the status quo in retail and other leading verticals. As the conference takes place at the beginning of the year it will probably be kind of a kick off for the attendees.

From my personal point of view, I would like to interact with participants and co-speakers to learn more about the current needs, challenges, and the requirements of retail brands, specifically in Germany.

If you don’t want to miss Timo’s session as well as many other interesting presentations on topics like Instant Commerce and Personalization, you can book your ticket to the Handelskraft 2016 here!

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