What is the future of commerce and the customer experience? Katrina Gosek, senior director of digital customer strategy at Oracle, and Scott Silverman, principal at Scott Silverman Associates, tell CXOTalk about the importance of frictionless, fast service.

“I think consumers own the brand,” Gosek says. “They have the ability to change how others perceive you as well. They hold a lot of power because they can jump from your site to another website very easily and very quickly. There are a lot of choices, so the key is to keep their attention.”

“[In a store], you want to have the information you want on your mobile phone,” Silverman adds. “You want to know quickly, is that item in the back room or not? If I don’t see it on the shelf, don’t take two or three minutes to go back and look. Tell me immediately or I’m going to lose my patience and go elsewhere. I’m going to walk out or I’m going to go find somewhere else to shop.”

Gosek leads the Product & Market Strategy team within the Oracle Customer Experience (CX) Cloud Product development group. Over the past decade, she has focused on partnering with B2C and B2B online businesses of all sizes, industries, and geographies – from Top 500 companies to boutique vendors - navigating some of the most significant industry shakeups digital professionals have faced in recent memory.

Silverman has been active in the online and multichannel retailing industry since 1999, including 10 years as Executive Director of Shop.org and co-inventing “Cyber Monday” in 2005. He is a consultant that works with emerging technology companies where he helps them with marketing, positioning and building relationships with online and digital retailers. Additionally, Silverman is the co-founder of two digital retail conferences, CommerceNext and the Global E-Commerce Leaders Forum.

This video was recorded live at the Oracle Modern CX 2018 conference held in Las Vegas.

Transcript

Michael Krigsman: Welcome to CxOTalk, coming to you from the Oracle Modern CX Conference. We're here in front of a live audience, and I'm speaking with Scott Silverman and Katrina Gosek, two top-tier experts. We're excited to talk with them about customer experience and the future of commerce.

I think, if we are talking about commerce and the future of commerce, we should start with a discussion about customers. The question that we have to begin with is, what's going on with customers today? How are customers changing and their expectations changing?

Scott Silverman: To me, the one word that stands out is "impatient." I feel that myself all the time, especially around fulfillment and delivery. If I see that it's going to take two days to leave the warehouse and another four or five days to get to my house, I'm outraged. Products available on Amazon, for example, that are now available in same day delivery or one-day delivery, it's really unbelievable, and it's fueling, I think, a lot of impatience.

Katrina Gosek: I would agree with that. I think there is definitely a sense that everything has to be right now all the time. I would just add to that that I think the other expectation on top of that is that everything needs to be frictionless. Payments need to be easy. Shipping needs to be easy. I need to find the information easy. I need to get what I need quickly. Yeah, I would say immediacy and frictionless is definitely at the core of consumer relationships these days.

Michael Krigsman: Customers are impatient, they're not willing to wait, and they simply want things to be as easy as possible. If they're not easy, they're going to click from your site to your competitor's site.

Katrina Gosek: I think customers own the brand for that reason. They have the ability to change how others perceive you as well. They hold a lot of power because they can jump from your site to another website very easily and very quickly. There are a lot of choices, so the key is to keep their attention.

Michael Krigsman: Scott, Katrina said something quite interesting. She said consumers own the brand. What does that mean, "Consumers own the brand"?

Scott Silverman: The days of the brand, from on high, managing, being the tastemaker, dictating how the customer is going to interact with them, that's so far long gone.

Katrina Gosek: If you look at all the different interactions you have with a company, I think the company's job is to own as many of those moments as possible. Whether you're interacting with a sales associate in a store or whether you're on a website or using your mobile phone to get information or searching on Google for the product, I think it's really the brand's job to own those moments because, if you don't, then somebody else is going to.

Michael Krigsman: Are we talking here about availability of information and about touchpoints? Are these the two key issues that you're both getting at?

Scott Silverman: You want to have the information you want on your mobile phone, like Katrina was saying, from the store associate. You want that store associate to be smart. You want them to recognize who you are if you have a past history there. It can be really frustrating if that's not recognized.

You want to know quickly, is that item in the back room or not? If I don't see it on the shelf, don't take two or three minutes to go back and look. Tell me immediately or I'm going to lose my patience and go elsewhere. I'm going to walk out or I'm going to go find somewhere else to shop.

Michael Krigsman: It's not just availability of information, but there's also a major technology component that feeds into this as well, like you just mentioned two things. You mentioned performance, performance needs to be there, and you mentioned mobile.

Katrina Gosek: I think the key is to really understand your customer and then use technology to unlock the relationship with them, the way I see technology playing a role in this

Michael Krigsman: Welcome to CxOTalk, coming to you from the Oracle Modern CX Conference. We're here in front of a live audience, and I'm speaking with Scott Silverman and Katrina Gosek, two top-tier experts. We're excited to talk with them about customer experience and the future of commerce.

I think, if we are talking about commerce and the future of commerce, we should start with a discussion about customers. The question that we have to begin with is, what's going on with customers today? How are customers changing and their expectations changing?

Scott Silverman: To me, the one word that stands out is "impatient." I feel that myself all the time, especially around fulfillment and delivery. If I see that it's going to take two days to leave the warehouse and another four or five days to get to my house, I'm outraged. Products available on Amazon, for example, that are now available in same day delivery or one-day delivery, it's really unbelievable, and it's fueling, I think, a lot of impatience.

Katrina Gosek: I would agree with that. I think there is definitely a sense that everything has to be right now all the time. I would just add to that that I think the other expectation on top of that is that everything needs to be frictionless. Payments need to be easy. Shipping needs to be easy. I need to find the information easy. I need to get what I need quickly. Yeah, I would say immediacy and frictionless is definitely at the core of consumer relationships these days.

Michael Krigsman: Customers are impatient, they're not willing to wait, and they simply want things to be as easy as possible. If they're not easy, they're going to click from your site to your competitor's site.

Katrina Gosek: I think customers own the brand for that reason. They have the ability to change how others perceive you as well. They hold a lot of power because they can jump from your site to another website very easily and very quickly. There are a lot of choices, so the key is to keep their attention.

Michael Krigsman: Scott, Katrina said something quite interesting. She said consumers own the brand. What does that mean, "Consumers own the brand"?

Scott Silverman: The days of the brand, from on high, managing, being the tastemaker, dictating how the customer is going to interact with them, that's so far long gone.

Katrina Gosek: If you look at all the different interactions you have with a company, I think the company's job is to own as many of those moments as possible. Whether you're interacting with a sales associate in a store or whether you're on a website or using your mobile phone to get information or searching on Google for the product, I think it's really the brand's job to own those moments because, if you don't, then somebody else is going to.

Michael Krigsman: Are we talking here about availability of information and about touchpoints? Are these the two key issues that you're both getting at?

Scott Silverman: You want to have the information you want on your mobile phone, like Katrina was saying, from the store associate. You want that store associate to be smart. You want them to recognize who you are if you have a past history there. It can be really frustrating if that's not recognized.

You want to know quickly, is that item in the back room or not? If I don't see it on the shelf, don't take two or three minutes to go back and look. Tell me immediately or I'm going to lose my patience and go elsewhere. I'm going to walk out or I'm going to go find somewhere else to shop.

Michael Krigsman: It's not just availability of information, but there's also a major technology component that feeds into this as well, like you just mentioned two things. You mentioned performance, performance needs to be there, and you mentioned mobile.

Katrina Gosek: I think the key is to really understand your customer and then use technology to unlock the relationship with them, the way I see technology playing a role in this interaction with consumers.

Michael Krigsman: All of these are, can we say, different facets of creating that and keeping that customer relationship going.

Scott Silverman: It's about selling solutions, not selling products. For the retailer, it's about using and building solutions and experiences, not like, "Oh, I just checked off the box. I'm now using this kind of product, and I've enabled that or implemented it in some way." That's, I think, a really backward way of looking at it.

Michael Krigsman: When you talk about building solutions, not products, or from the retail point of view, creating broader end-to-end experiences, why is this so hard?

Katrina Gosek: If you don't know your consumer, your customer, how could you possibly know what technology to implement to build a relationship with them?

Scott Silverman: I think what's often missing in the e-commerce shopping experience is not understanding the context of which the person is shopping or their particular intent. I'll give kind of a morbid example. Someone might be going to a department store and they want to buy a black dress. Well, they could be buying that to go to a cocktail party or they could be buying it for a funeral. Those are a completely different set of circumstances. I think, if you're face-to-face with someone in a store, you can size up what's going on.

When they're interacting with you with a digital interface, it's really hard. But, I think the technology is getting there. There are ways to get some little clues along the way so that you have a better understanding of that context and the circumstance of that customer when they're shopping with you.

Katrina Gosek: For me, it's more understanding what technologies your customers are using and then implementing an ecosystem that interacts with them. For example, if you know they are an influencer, let's say, track what they're doing on social media. Try to find a way to connect it to the store. Try to find a way to get them to write reviews to bolster the brand. Data influences some of it, but I think it also has to do with understanding the context and where your customers are interacting with you.

Michael Krigsman: Scott, you brought up that term "context." Katrina is describing a more holistic view of the customer. Does that cover what you meant by that context?

Scott Silverman: Context would be the example. If someone is shopping with you, are they in a hurry or are they browsing? How do you know when that interaction is happening? I think, the holistic view, you've got to take into consideration what they may have looked at, where they looked at it, what's their relationship with that particular retailer, to be able to have the right kind of interaction with that customer.

Michael Krigsman: How can a retailer maintain its brand through all of these very fractured set of interactions that customers have with them?

Katrina Gosek: If customers are trying to find you online, content is going to drive eyeballs to the site. So, make sure you're showing up in Google searches. But, more importantly, when the customer gets to the site, make sure you've got a rich--the term now that's being used is--lifestyle site: videos, reviews, information about the products, and different ways of representing the physicality of a product online. We're seeing AR and VR becoming more and more important.

For me, staying present in the digital landscape has a lot to do with the amount of content you're creating around your products and making sure it's consistent.

Michael Krigsman: What advice do you both have for organizations who are looking at this saying, "Yes, we need to do this! But, somehow it's not happening"?

Scott Silverman: Innovation has to be across the entire — it has to be in the DNA. It has to be the air that you breathe. It's culture. It's having leadership that wants to enable that and empowers people to bring up ideas. That, to me, is where innovation is really going to happen.

Michael Krigsman: What is your summed up, distilled advice that you would offer almost in a tweet?

Katrina Gosek: If I were to sum it up, I would say commerce isn't just commerce. It's an entire ecosystem of interactions, emotions with your customer. It's a lot more than just a shopping cart.

Michael Krigsman: Scott, it looks like you're going to get the last word.

Scott Silverman: Don't squander your advantages, would be my advice. Lean into them. If you have a passionate community of customers, find a way to feed that passion.

Michael Krigsman: Okay. Thank you, everybody, for sitting through this wonderful panel with these two excellent guests.

Katrina Gosek: Thank you.

Scott Silverman: Thank you.