Adobe Cloud Integrating Magento: Personalized, Experience-Driven Commerce Just Became a Thing

Adobe announced they are integrating Magento commerce cloud into the Adobe Experience Cloud at MagentoLive in Barcelona. What does this mean? Adobe will make every experience personal while Magento is making every moment Shoppable.

Magento has developed a reputation over the years as a shining example of what an open source community-driven development team should look like. Interestingly, much of its code originates from developers that are not even on the payroll.

However, this was always the point. It is less about where the code comes from and much more about improving the quality to enhance the service of its clients. There is an argument that the e-commerce giant has enjoyed massive success on the back of their community rather than being held back by internal processes like their competitors.

Many members of the community were understandably concerned that things would change when Magento was acquired by Adobe earlier this year for a cool $1.68 billion. While the global community debated what the new partnership would mean, an announcement at MagentoLive in Barcelona earlier this week attempted to ease any fears.

The Heart and Soul of Magento in Barcelona

Refreshingly, there isn’t a separate user and developer conference, the event encourages collaboration between the community, clients, and sponsors all under one roof. Despite the acquisition by a tech behemoth, from what I saw, the vibrant community is still the heart and soul of Magento.

Predictably, all bases in the customer journey are now being covered as Adobe announced they are integrating Magento commerce cloud into the Adobe Experience Cloud. In a nutshell, Adobe customers that have access to marketing, advertising, and analytics services will now be able to seamlessly add a shopping cart to their digital presences too.

Adobe makes every experience personal while Magento is making every moment Shoppable

Ironically, it’s the rising expectations of customers that are driving these changes rather than the tech giants. Whether it be offline and or online, the quality of the customer experience is rapidly becoming the new battleground for businesses looking to secure quick wins with engagement and loyalty being the ultimate prize.

Engagement Across the Full Customer Journey

In acquiring Magento, Adobe has secured access to every step of the customer journey and is making it easier for brands of all sizes to create engaging experiences. The speed of change is gathering pace, and everyone is expected to continuously adapt and move forward. But will big businesses struggle to keep up the pace when their legacy systems continue to hold them back?

The innovations we are bringing to market enable companies of all sizes and across industries to make every experience shoppable

In the same way that Blockbuster Video, Kodak, Polaroid and Borders failed to tackle digital disruption, I cannot help but think that we are heading for another showdown where household names will once again disappear. Our internet history has already taught us that no brand is too big to big to fail.

There is already a long list of big brands that users have fallen out of love with. Facebook, Electronic Arts, Sears Holdings, United Airlines, and even former tech darling Uber have all suffered a rough year. In many ways, they have become easy pickings for competitors to move in and provide superior experiences.

The experience curve is changing – it’s the new Moore’s law. – Shantanu Narayen

In a year of significant acquisitions, Adobe is leading the way in the experience industry by managing more than 233 trillion data transactions and $141 billion in online sales transactions annually. Make no mistake, experiences are not just another buzzword. It’s big business.

The Right Kind of Personalized Experiences

“If it moves, personalize it, and if it doesn’t, customize it anyway,” is a trap that a few could fall into. If done right, tools such as Adobe Target, powered by Adobe Sensei, which uses AI and machine learning could efficiently deliver contextually relevant shopping experiences.

Brands should find it much easier to drive customer loyalty and enable businesses to compete more effectively. Although personalized experiences make our lives easier and more efficient, you can still have too much of a good thing.

For example, there are occasions that I want to go rogue and look outside of what algorithms recommend for me. Whether it be on Netflix, reading an entire magazine or browsing through bookshelves, those happy accidents in life that lead to great discoveries are an experience that is equally as important.

I suspect that it’s the brands that get this fine balance right will be the ones that succeed. But, in a digital age, I doubt that the size of the business will not determine their success, it will be the experience they provide.

The ‘Right to be Forgotten’ – Ode to Solitude

Alexander Pope is making a 21st Century comeback. I’d love to be in Google’s conference room as the team there decides just how to adhere to a European court’s decision that European citizens have a right to be forgotten (on Google). Or what about email? A UK court just took a British retailer to task—John Lewis—for having a pre-checked form box for new customers that permits an email communication to the paying customer, along with an easy-to-use opt-out

Alexander Pope is making a 21st Century comeback.

I’d love to be in Google’s conference room as the team there decides just how to adhere to a European court’s decision that European citizens have a right to be forgotten (on Google).

Or what about email? A UK court just took a British retailer to task—John Lewis—for having a pre-checked form box for new customers that permits an email communication to the paying customer, along with an easy-to-use opt-out. The court found that a customer having to uncheck a box is just too taxing, and more than that, a privacy violation.

Here’s an interesting Ken Magill point of view.

I confess that I, too, am a bit of a reactionary to all of this. If commerce is so evil, if advertising is such a privacy violation, maybe we should just pack it up and go back to serving consumers and making money—and paying taxes, and generating jobs—here at home.

Can you imagine what types of costs Google will incur in its attempt to comply—never mind the impact on Google’s utility in Europe? Certainly John Lewis is taking the matter seriously, as it should. As reported in The Register (UK):

A John Lewis spokeswoman said: “Mr Mansfield voluntarily gave us his email address, set up an account online and chose not to opt out of marketing communications when that option was available to him. This case was a very specific set of circumstances and in this instance whilst we do not agree with the decision, we will abide by it. We apologise to Mr Mansfield that he was inconvenienced by our emails.”

Let’s be sure none of this zaniness creeps into our policy and case law here (ethics and best practices are another story), for the sake of our economy.

Sometimes I look to Europe and I scratch my head—yet there are some in America who want to bring these inflexible regimes here. While I respect different cultures for privacy around the world, let’s not sacrifice trade and commerce on the altar of some notion of gaining privacy, when in truth, marketing innovation and privacy can, and do, move along in concert. I guess some parts of the world figure that advertisers are all big brands who spend money only on image campaigns, and then sit back and wait for customers to come to them. In short, if you don’t have the Euros, you don’t get to compete.

Seriously, if an individual wants to be Rip Van Winkle, go to sleep for 20 years and don’t bother participating in the marketplace. Don’t drive. Don’t vote. Don’t shop. Don’t look at your mail. Don’t subscribe to any newspapers or magazines, or watch TV. Don’t browse the Internet. Don’t donate to causes—or to campaigns. And please, don’t tell me you’re a privacy advocate, or even participate in opt-out programs.

Because I’m just going to flag your name and store it in a database somewhere so I can reference you (apparently inappropriately) along with other “privacy-sensitive” folks, or to omit future communication. I certainly don’t want to bother you with any information—such as a product or service to help you protect your privacy, or bolster your security.

The “business” of privacy is booming, even as the “ethics” of privacy in marketing have been around in industry codes for decades. Browsers offer private surfing, and there are apps that allow you to cover your tracks. But how could someone know to learn about these services if we’re all forced to forget such a person by default?

All marketers want to do is create and serve a customer—and they go to great lengths to ensure an opt-out is honored. Where’s the harm? Answer: In commerce, there are only winners. While we can choose to lower our profile through myriad ways, to mandate such profiles as a legal default is to deny the very intelligence—and our consumer economy—that data has served to create.

And here is Alexander Pope on the matter:

Ode on Solitude
Happy the man, whose wish and care
A few paternal acres bound,
Content to breathe his native air,
In his own ground.

Whose heards with milk, whose fields with bread,
Whose flocks supply him with attire,
Whose trees in summer yield him shade,
In winter fire.

Blest! who can unconcern’dly find
Hours, days, and years slide soft away,
In health of body, peace of mind,
Quiet by day,

Sound sleep by night; study and ease
Together mix’d; sweet recreation,
And innocence, which most does please,
With meditation.

Thus let me live, unseen, unknown;
Thus unlamented let me dye;
Steal from the world, and not a stone
Tell where I lye.

—Alexander Pope (1688-1744)

An Opportunity to Learn From Leading Retailers

What do cross-channel retailers like to do best (besides make money)? Share their stories and insights with their peers so they can learn from one another. Well, eM+C’s sister publication, Retail Online Integration, is giving those retailers a great platform to share their thoughts with its Retail Marketing Virtual Conference & Expo – Fall 2011, which is taking place next Tuesday, Sept. 27.

What do cross-channel retailers like to do best (besides make money)? Share their stories and insights with their peers so they can learn from one another.

Well, eM+C’s sister publication, Retail Online Integration, is giving those retailers a great platform to share their thoughts with its Retail Marketing Virtual Conference & Expo – Fall 2011, which is taking place next Tuesday, Sept. 27.

If you’re a retailer, you don’t want to miss out on this free, informative one-day virtual event. The opening keynote, E-Commerce Retail Roundtable: Holiday Best Practices, featuring Peter Cobb , co-founder and senior vice president of eBags.comOpens in a new window; Jack Kiefer , founder, president and CEO of BabyAge.comOpens in a new window; and Andy Hoar , an analyst at Forrester ResearchOpens in a new window, will provide listeners with tips to make the 2011 holiday season their best one yet.

Best practices that will be discussed include:

  • how to ensure your website is prepared for the holiday rush of traffic;
  • updating fulfillment processes to meet growing demand; and
  • last-minute social media and email marketing tips.

The closing keynote, The Future of Retail Shopping With Augmented Reality, Mobile and Social Media, will discus strategies for integrating these emerging technologies into your marketing mix to help increase conversions and sales.

Other information-packed sessions include the following:

  • At Your Service: E-Commerce Customer Service Trends
  • Social Marketing and Commerce Retail Case Studies
  • Cutting Through the Mobile Marketing and Mobile Commerce Clutter
  • Winning Customer Acquisition Tactics for Cross-Channel Retailers
  • Customer Retention Best Practices

View the most up-to-date agenda here. In addition to the great lineup of sessions we’ve put together, you’ll have the ability to network with other attendees via live chats and social networking, as well as download resources and giveaways. To register for this free event, click hereOpens in a new window.

Hope to “see” you there!

Measuring the Impact of Facebook on Sales

There’s been a lot of talk about Facebook’s impact on commerce from industry pundits. “Will it be retail’s next Google?” asked one report from a leading analyst’s firm. While we’re still very much in the early stages of social media marketing, one thing is certain: In a world where people are increasingly turning to others for opinions and recommendations on the things they need, social commerce, specifically Facebook commerce (f-commerce), is something worthy of additional exploration. But before we jump into the numbers and opportunities, let’s examine what’s required to build a successful f-commerce effort.

There’s been a lot of talk about Facebook’s impact on commerce from industry pundits. “Will it be retail’s next Google?” asked one report from a leading analyst’s firm. While we’re still very much in the early stages of social media marketing, one thing is certain: In a world where people are increasingly turning to others for opinions and recommendations on the things they need, social commerce, specifically Facebook commerce (f-commerce), is something worthy of additional exploration. But before we jump into the numbers and opportunities, let’s examine what’s required to build a successful f-commerce effort.

First off, I’m a believer. (So much so that I recently joined the marketing advisory board of an f-commerce provider, Milyoni.) Some of the examples below, including Warner Brother’s experimentation with Facebook as an alternative digital distribution platform, are powered by Milyoni’s technology. Having said that, f-commerce doesn’t just happen.

I believe that all successful f-commerce programs start with creating engaging conversations and communities. Trust and advocacy flourish over time, allowing brands to develop programs that harness the power of the social graph. If done well, brands have the opportunity to build a commerce platform that not only stands on its own, but ultimately supports and amplifies existing marketing and sales efforts.

If you’ve spent time building your Facebook community and implementing channel tracking for promotions, you’ve probably already witnessed the growing influence social networks are having on your overall promotional efforts. For one of my clients, Facebook is now second to email in terms of rebate form completions and conversions. That’s a testament to the power of building a highly engaged community and its impact on sales.

Now for the data. If you’re still a skeptic, consider the following:

Sales: A recent report from consulting firm Booz & Company titled Turning “Like” to “Buy” estimates social commerce sales will reach $5 billion worldwide this year, with $1 billion coming from the U.S. This is expected to grow sixfold to more than $30 billion worldwide ($15 billion in the U.S.) by 2015.

Consumer acceptance: Booz & Company reports 27 percent of consumers said they’d be willing to purchase physical goods through social networking sites.

Brand acceptance — diversified and growing:

More recently, movie studios like Warner Brothers have shaken up the industry by experimenting with Facebook as an alternative digital distribution platform by offering five movies — “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets,” “Inception,” “Life As We Know It” and “Yogi Bear” — for rental using Facebook Credits.

In fact, news of the test sent shares of Netflix tumbling by more than 6 percent or $650 milllion. Why? One, social networks offer studios a way to bypass services like Netflix, whose streaming digital influence continues to grow. Two, the ability to post comments and interact with friends opens up a host of new opportunities to not only tap into the social graph to create a unique experience, but to inform the studio and influence future development efforts.

In today’s world, brands need to be everywhere their customers are. So why not facilitate the ability to transact there as well? No doubt social commerce has arrived, but its definition will continue to evolve and expand. From traditional retail stores to an innovative digital media distribution platform, the power of Facebook as a viable social commerce platform is one of the big opportunities of the decade.