Sitecore’s Chief Customer Success Officer on why customer-centric brands need to rethink their marketing technology strategy to be able to adapt to rapidly evolving trends like AI and social commerce.
While you’ve been busy honing your brand’s ecommerce strategy, a new online shopping revolution is rapidly gathering steam. The global market for social commerce – browsing and shopping directly on social media platforms – is set to grow three times as fast as traditional ecommerce, from $492 billion in 2021 to $1.2 trillion by 2025.
Sitecore’s Chief Customer Success Officer Lee Miles says it’s a case of getting on board now, or risking being left behind: “Just as we’ve seen with the explosion of TikTok commerce, brands need to prepared to embrace new social platforms and plan to sell through them, even if they don’t exist today”.
Along with social commerce, the seismic shift brought about by generative AI, such as ChatGPT, is reshaping the marketing technology (MarTech) landscape, catalyzing a new era of customer-centricity and innovation. These transformative forces demand that businesses reassess their technological strategies in the face of unpredictable disruption.
On the latest CX4CA podcast, Miles talks to George Smith, Regional Managing Director (MEIA) for Horizontal Digital, about what companies need to consider when it comes to future-proofing their MarTech stack.
Composable architecture: a foundation for interoperability and agility
In today’s fast-paced digital landscape, traditional monolithic enterprise platforms fall short. Enter composable architecture – a transformative MarTech approach enabling businesses to seamlessly integrate scalable, best-of-breed technologies while swiftly adapting to market shifts.
Gartner forecasts that by 2024, 70% of large and medium-sized enterprises will prioritize composability in their application planning. They also predict a 60% improvement in digital innovation speed by 2026 for organizations that leverage reusable composable digital commerce modules.
Anticipating this revolution, Sitecore took the lead with its digital experience platform (DXP), embracing composable architecture for its remarkable interoperability and flexibility.
“Composability helps you fail faster,” explains Miles. “It allows you to continuously reiterate and get through development cycles faster, bringing in new capabilities all the time.”
This agile process of continuous improvement revolutionizes the conventional upgrade or migration model, eliminating the need for massive and costly projects every few years.
“If you can get to a composable and headless environment, that upgrade isn’t needed anymore, because you’re just adding new features and functionality all the time,” says Miles.
Headless architecture: empowering flexibility and integration with new platforms
The rise of AI and social commerce also necessitates a headless architecture that allows businesses to have a smart foundation that can interact seamlessly with existing systems and adapt to new platforms. By being able to integrate into evolving ecosystems like Sitecore’s, companies can embrace new opportunities and reach customers through platforms that haven’t even been built yet.
Headless products or components can be seamlessly integrated and utilized by developers using composable architecture. This approach enables rapid deployment, efficient testing, continuous learning, and innovation. Unlike legacy solutions, composable architecture is future fit, accommodating new features without requiring the dismantling of existing infrastructures.
“People have a lot of rich heritage in their own IT systems, so any platform you choose has to be a good neighbor and integrate well with the other technologies in a company’s MarTech stack,” says Miles.
Composable success stories
In a rapidly changing digital landscape, time to market is key. Leveraging the power of Sitecore’s composable DXP, Synlab, a UK healthcare provider, achieved remarkable time-to-value, going from selection of the Cloud-based SaaS solution to go-live in just four months. In this short time frame, they were able to create a rich customer experience and embed a foundation for future commerce.
For the highly anticipated launch of the INEOS Grenadier 4×4, INEOS Automotive partnered with Sitecore to build a unique, direct-to-customer purchase and ownership experience using a digital-first model. Built with a headless configuration on Sitecore Experience Platform (XP), the site exceeded its one-year sales target by 110% in 2 months, racking up 12 vehicle reservations a minute.
Smith highlights a local case study in Dubai, UAE that saw Emirates NBD increase traffic by over 92%. “It’s not just the huge amount of extra engagement that’s exciting,” says Smith, “Sitecore has empowered ENBD to create a commerce and customer loyalty play where the bank’s cards are the secret invitation to a marketplace where cardholders can shop and earn points.”
The value of using Sitecore’s composable architecture to orchestrate unique experiences also drove record sales during the launch of Abu Dhabi’s YasIsland.com. “The ask was to create a booking experience as exciting as the fastest rollercoaster on Yas Island,” explains Smith. Yas Island now has one of the quickest online booking systems in the global travel and leisure industry, thanks to Sitecore’s headless architecture that made it possible to integrate with the site’s existing third-party booking system.
AI and personalization: the next frontier in CX
AI-driven personalization will be a game-changer in CX. By leveraging technologies like ChatGPT, businesses can create highly personalized experiences that resonate with customers on a deeper level.
Mckinsey estimates that AI has the potential to deliver 9% or more of the entire GDP of the Middle East’s Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries. Around 62% of senior executive respondents to a Mckinsey survey say that AI is being used in at least one business function in their organizations, with marketing and sales being the biggest area of adoption.
Marketers are using AI to personalize content, dig deeper into customer needs and improve the overall CX.
“The ability to contextualize interactions, offer nuanced conversations, and provide tailored recommendations revolutionizes the way brands connect with their audience. Investing in technologies like AI empowers businesses to reinvent themselves and stay ahead of the competition,” says Smith.
It’s no wonder then that 72% of marketers in the UK are prioritizing spending on AI over the next 12 months, according to a 2023 Sitecore survey.
Generative AI shows promise when it comes to easily integrating into composable MarTech stacks and has already delivered rapid, measurable results in marketing campaigns. “Those who embrace AI experimentation early could unlock significant productivity gains and insights for sustained competitive advantage,” says Smith.
Planning for an unpredictable future
In its report, The state of AI in GCC countries—and how to overcome adoption challenges, Mckinsey writes that as AI technology advances, so too does the risk of increasing technical debt and complexity: “Companies should therefore think beyond what is fit for purpose today, and instead consider a modular, hybrid infrastructure—one in which the best available technologies can be easily integrated inside end-to-end processes and easily swapped out for newer ones without breaking the entire system.”
By adopting a more flexible approach to MarTech, not only can brands eliminate costly upgrades, but can be ready to capitalize on new digital trends like social commerce, while leveraging the transformative power of AI to drive hyper-personalized experiences.
Read more: Composable is the future