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Web Masters: CX Trends & Tech

Posted on 3.17.2016

Today, marketing budgets are being allocated to allow for the majority of spending to go toward customers, and in a variety of ways.

Customer experience has become a call to action for those in both B2B and B2C with Gartner reporting customer experience (CX) management is now the number one technology priority for CEOs and 89 percent of businesses plan to compete primarily based on CX this year.

This is good news for a company like Qubit, which offers a digital customer experience platform for marketing and e-commerce professionals.

As part of our Web Tech interview series, Website Magazine caught up with Ian McCaig, CMO and co-founder of Qubit, to discuss this rapidly growing space and what customer experience challenges and opportunities are available for marketers and retailers as well as the company itself.

What Should Readers Know About the Industry in Which Qubit Operates?

Customer experience is the most urgent challenge for marketers to address this year.

Every business we talk to agrees the “nirvana” for CX is to serve the right content to the right user at the right time -- but this is easier said than done. Over the last 10 years most businesses have tried to tackle CX initiatives with a host of single-capability or ‘point’ solutions such as product recommendations, AB testing and basket abandonment (to name just a few). This has created enormous complexities in their technology stacks and data silos as marketers struggle to identify what is actually shifting the CX needle and delivering winning experiences to their visitors and customers.

Businesses have now realized that world class CX has to start with the data and creating a centralized customer record that can both grow and build over time as you learn more about your customers’ behavior, purchase patterns and their likes and dislikes.

Once you have this perpetual customer record in place you can then start putting the data to work across your different customer touch points from web, mobile, email, in-store and contact center channels.

How will your services/products change in the next 1, 5 or 10 years?

The customer no longer shops through a single channel like retail store or website. According to research the average shopper uses 2.5 channels when making a purchase so understanding this fragmented journey and delivering a personalized experience that is consistent across each channel is no longer a “nice to have” but a strategic imperative.

At Qubit we have developed a Customer Data Platform that enables our customers to sync up every experience they deliver to their customers (or more broadly every person that interacts with their brand) regardless of how they choose to engage.

Nobody knows what the future holds but we do know that by creating a centralized customer record that builds over time and can be actioned in real-time, it provides the foundation for our clients to keep up with their consumers and with new innovations in the market.

What is certain is that in the next five years nearly all businesses will be delivering a massively more personalized experience to each customer. If companies don’t achieve this they will almost certainly not be relevant anymore in this new “Expectation Economy” where meeting customer obsession has to be a business’ number one priority.

Where is there the most demand for your services/products?

Fashion and beauty brands have really embraced customer experience and the value this can generate to their bottom line. For example, understanding their VIP customers and giving them special treatment, just like they would expect in a physical store, is key for driving life-time value and retention.

Other retail sectors are not far behind. We are seeing travel, financial services and, in the UK and Europe, e-gaming industries all really embracing this new Expectation Economy and making personalization a top priority.

Who are your competitors?

Our main competitors are companies providing Marketing Clouds, such as Adobe and Oracle, who have acquired various point solutions and are trying to integrate these together to provide a cohesive offering. Our approach has been to build everything from the ground up so that our solutions are fully integrated and unified by a single customer data platform we call the Visitor Cloud. There are also a variety of  point solutions that we compete against at a tactical level in areas such as Digital Analytics (GA premium, Webtrends), Tag Management (Tealium, Ensighten), Product Recommendations (Rich Relevance, Certona), Voice of Customer (Foresee, Iperceptions) and A/B testing (Optimizely, Monetate).

What are current trends impacting your business?

- E-commerce is a $2.5 trillion industry, encompassing both business-to-business and business-to-consumer and still growing double digits year-on-year. What is more exciting is that according to Deloitte, 50 percent of total commerce is now influenced by the Web which makes getting the digital experience right even more critical for businesses.

- The UK market is by far the most mature e-commerce market in the world with 20 pence in every £1 being spent online. This is the main reason we decided to launch Qubit in the UK as businesses were feeling the “conversion pinch” the hardest with the high cost-per-click advertising from channels like Google.

- We are seeing businesses move away from point solutions to a more consolidated approach through data centralization. This trend is going to accelerate in 2016.

- Marketing clouds such as Adobe, Oracle and IBM will continue their spending spree and swallow up more point solutions in the attempt to cobble these different code bases together. These “FrankenClouds” will continue to be cumbersome to use and lack true integration.

Check out other posts from the Web Masters tech interview series by following the links below:

- Managing 100's of Custom-Designed Sites

- Honk! Targeted Ads for Car Buyers

- Spotlight on Conversational Commerce

- Web Masters: Answering Why, How & Who with Digital Intelligence

- Web Masters: The Return on Site Search

- Web Masters: A More Human Form

- Data & Customer Choice

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