Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Capitalizing on Micro-Moments in Commerce

Thomas John, Senior Director and Commerce Practice Lead
Technology / Strategy

The term “micro-moments” has been around since 2015. This concept was the result of extensive research that identified specific moments in a consumer’s decision-making process that helped guide them to their ultimate destination. The role of micro-moments in shaping how consumers make purchase decisions are more relevant today than ever and learning how to leverage them to your advantage will help provide your customers with the best transactional experience.

Identifying Your Customer’s Micro-Moments

All successful commerce sites engage within a Content + Commerce + Context theme. Within this theme, identifying the customer’s intent is very important. There are four basic wants that a customer goes through:

•  The need to know - This is the micro-moment when someone wants to learn something. They have a question and they're turning to a device to find the answer. The outcome to this activity is more complex for the etailer or retailer than one might expect.

•  The need to do - This is the micro-moment when a person decides to do something immediately or in the future. The "what" can be anything, such as go to a restaurant, take a vacation, use a product, or something else entirely.

•  The need to buy - This is the most coveted micro-moment, the very second the consumer makes the decision to buy something. Discoverability is a strategic priority for the 'I Want to Buy' micro-moment.

•  The need to go - This is the micro-moment when a consumer wants to explore events and places while traveling, or near a soon-to-be-reached destination, or simply look for something different to do on home turf. The consumer may know a general category, such as museums or shopping, or possibly be looking for ideas based solely on what is close.

As you look along this spectrum of the customer’s four basic wants, you will recognize a progression of a customer’s engagement pattern or context. This context defines the customer’s journey to making a purchase. On the surface, for each micro-moment a consumer has with a company may seem to be a small, insignificant interaction sitting by itself. But as a series of interactions happen, they can form a customer journey map – a chain of interlocking micro-moments, that may or may not end up with a purchase.

Technology Considerations to Capture Micro-Moments

Your commerce platform has to have capabilities to help you capture these micro-moments and act on it. These actions can be anything from presenting the right product to the right user at the right time or suggesting additional choices such as up-sell or cross-sell. Sitecore Experience Platform 9.1, provides capabilities to consider which will allow you to take action on your customers’ micro-moments.

Role of AI and Machine Learning

Sitecore Cortex is an advanced marketing toolset that can leverage AI and machine learning to drive marketing outcomes and contextual intelligence.

Sitecore Cortex Processing Engine

Sitecore Cortex is a lot more than simply using AI or Machine Learning. It is a processing engine that allows you to handle big data which will help you drive significant insights. This will in turn help you deliver:

•  Relevant customer experiences
•  Deeper insight on your customers
•  Efficiency on marketing operations

Role of Predictive Outcomes

With Predictive Outcomes you can personalize based on the likelihood of micro-moment occurring. This is a personalization rule that has great value when a customer at any stage in their journey is really close to converting, with a likelihood greater than 80%. You can now serve targeted content to help customers to convert.

Role of Predictive Outcomes

Another reason to use likelihood is when the score is very low, for example lower than 30%. In this case, the chance that the customer will convert is so low that you can drive them to a better opportunity by targeting them with other options.

Predictive outcomes use customer facets as features on the model. Sitecore xDB stores the scoring data which is then available to be used in creation of personalization rules.

The most successful companies will have a strategy for each micro-moment, but they also look at the moments together as steps in a process. Micro-moments lay down the various moments in time when your customers could be searching for you. It is up to you to - be there, be useful and be accountable. By monitoring your customers micro-moments, companies can become more relevant in their customers’ lives.