I’ve been thinking a lot about contemporary ecommerce customer experiences lately. Besides fixing the obvious problems like having to register before you buy, going all the way through the purchase process before seeing the shipping costs or taxes and of course the all too frequent screw up that makes you start all over again and hope that your credit won’t be charged twice, I wonder who is really looking at commerce as just one piece in the overall customer experience.
In the technology world, ecommerce usually refers to the actual shopping cart/order management application that enables a company to sell products online, order and fulfill and take payment. Companies with recurring payment plans like cell providers and cable companies even allow you to add services, increase plans and in some cases refer a friend. But from a customer-centric perspective, ecommerce needs to include analytics applications that track what is important to a customer by their actions of the Web site, i.e. where they have spent their time, which pages or products they have shown interest in. Once you start wanting to remember anything about a particular customer, you will need a CRM system or customer data management program. And if you’re going to provide a personalized customer experience you will need a robust enough campaign management system to present unique combinations of relevant content.
Who’s going to provide all these systems? Amazon? Microsoft? Salesforce.com? It’s another case where what Forrester calls the enterprise marketing platform is a need waiting for a solution.