Now your digital journey really begins
To break through the digital noise, brands need to deliver amazing customer experiences that exceed expectations. Working with an expert partner to achieve this has never been more important – I-invest discovers why with Steve Tzikakis of Sitecore Artificial intelligence is having a profound effect on...
To break through the digital noise, brands need to deliver amazing customer experiences that exceed expectations. Working with an expert partner to achieve this has never been more important – I-invest discovers why with Steve Tzikakis of Sitecore
Artificial intelligence is having a profound effect on the world in which we live. Whether it’s helping manufacture our
goods, tailoring what we see on social media, or offering us customer service assistance, AI is being utilised in virtually all aspects of life. As such, each and every company must consider the benefits and costs of adopting it.
As the pressures of spiralling inflation, challenges with the supply chain, a lack of skilled labour and global conflicts affect consumer buying power and breadth of product selection, customers are becoming more and more discerning when it comes to where they spend their dollars and pounds.
Consumers will no longer make do with ‘the usual’ when choosing where and when to part with their hard-earned funds. So, to cut through and become the brand of choice for picky buyers, it’s vital that brands that know exactly what their customer wants, and when they want it, to thrive and survive in today’s global economy. In fact, modern brands must go one step further and heed the advice of the great Canadian ice hockey player Wayne Gretzky who once said: “I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.”
For Steve Tzikakis, CEO of Sitecore, a global leader in digital experience software, the most consistent and stable paradigm at this time is a company’s digital experience. Says Tzikakis: “This is what Sitecore’s philosophy has been about: How do you provide a personalised and optimised experience for millions, at exactly the right moment in the perfect environment?”
Since Tzikakis became CEO of Sitecore in September 2020, clearly much has changed in the global economy. “When I joined Sitecore, we were a few months into the global pandemic and in the middle of a massive shift to online shopping, driven by the fact that so many brick-and-mortar operations were shut due to pandemic regulations – but also because consumers realised they enjoyed the convenience and ease of the digital experience.”
“Brands were caught short, rapidly trying to speed up their systems to meet huge demand. It wasn’t just about ensuring their websites could cope with increased traffic, it was about streamlining systems to ensure that online shopping experiences were intuitive, regularly updated and could deliver on their promise.
“Today, there are still challenges, but the challenges have changed. Our goal is to help brands navigate continued instability by ensuring the experiences they deliver customers are positive, engaging and effective. And by doing this, we ensure that consumers want to keep coming back to that brand because their experiences are enjoyable ones.”
Founded in Copenhagen in 2000, Sitecore has been taking the content management system market by storm over the past two decades. But recent expansion has now taken Sitecore beyond the CMS world and expanded its offering to e-commerce and experience platform services.
“One thing that we know for sure is that every time there’s a crisis, new digital companies arise. It’s an opportunity for innovation and for transformation,” adds Tzikakis. “Our customers have the opportunity to gain market share and the ability to avoid the issues and hiccups that happened in the first few months during the pandemic.”
In Tzikakis’s experience, many of the largest Fortune 3000 and FTSE 100 companies are aggressive in their pursuit of exciting new possibilities at a time of uncertainty. When embarking on a major journey to transform the digital experience a company offers its customers, it is vital to have an experienced and knowledgeable partner to support this project.
By using Sitecore’s solutions, some of the world’s biggest businesses have transformed their customer experience. With a presence in 27 different countries and counting companies such as L’Oreal, Microsoft and United Airlines as clients, Sitecore has deep insights into how to make unforgettable connections with customers, even during challenging times.
Says Tzikakis: “United Airlines use our technology to personalise digital signage at airports around the world. Now, passengers waiting for a United Airlines flight can see information about their destination and inflight experience, as opposed to just watching static images.”
Entertaining and informative applications of Sitecore technologies are a powerful way for leading organisations to differentiate themselves in crowded marketplaces, as well as finding innovative ways to put the customer first. Adding personalised experiences into the lives of customers can not just help attract new consumers but it is also a powerful way to retain hard-won customers. With a recent study of US and UK consumers by Advanis and Sitecore finding that just a third of Americans are “very loyal” to their favourite brand, consumers are more than prepared to switch to companies that treat them best. The Advanis and Sitecore survey also saw 70% of US and 54% of UK respondents saying they want deeper and more personal connections with companies.
One client that embraced the benefits of personalisation and digital innovation was the world’s largest cosmetics company, L’Oréal. When pandemic-related restrictions caused all non-essential retailers to temporarily close their doors, L’Oréal and Sitecore joined forces to ensure that customers were able to purchase products and services without interruption.
Simply by using a phone, tablet or laptop, consumers could see how a range of L’Oréal products looked on their face, with users able to see the exact colour of each cosmetic product to ensure it matched their skin tone.
In the last couple of years, Sitecore has placed a great deal of focus on building out a comprehensive ecosystem where clients can access a diverse range of tools and services that can support even complex needs.
At the heart of this growth strategy was an early move to cloud, that saw Sitecore completely reconfigure their solution portfolio to a modern cloud architecture. Embracing the advantages of cloud cannot be understated, especially when it comes to the improvements this brings when companies want to launch a new digital product, personalise their offers or uncover actionable business insights.
Data is at the centre of any successful personalisation strategy. Website and digital platforms have the potential to collect an array of customer data, with permission, that can be converted into data-driven insights to better tailor the journey of the customer to their exact requirements.
Cloud solutions enable vast amounts of customer data to be analysed very quickly, meaning that the right solutions are able to be deployed almost immediately. This is especially valuable as companies move towards ensuring that customers experience the same high level of personalised service, no matter what digital brand touch point they encounter.
For example, if a consumer has personalised content on their laptop and tablet but when they move to their phone the authentic experience is not continued, it may result in a lost sale or a damaged brand image. Establishing a seamless brand experience for consumers does require companies to invest to ensure that all touch points are integrated.
“During our growth period, we grew our revenues by 60%, doubled our employee base and opened new offices around the world. But I think most importantly, we were given the opportunity to challenge the status-quo in the industry and move with a new architecture of solutions that really spoke to our customers challenges,” explains Tzikakis.
The digital customer experience is quickly becoming as important, if not more important, than the physical customer experience. Broad-based advertisements, such as conventional billboards or in-store adverts, are not able to fully connect with the viewer or create a truly personalised connection.
For companies that decide to adopt future-proofed digital customer experience solutions, tailored content and experiences can be achieved that enable businesses to diversify their market audiences in a range of channels.
Sitecore has spent a great deal of time and resources in transitioning to a cloud-based, composable software-as-a-service (SAAS) model that gives clients the choice to decide for themselves exactly the mix of solutions they want.
The composable element of the model allows for each client to utilise only the solutions that are needed for their individual business demands. Clients of Sitecore are then well positioned to show customers that their data is being used to create a genuine improvement in their experience.
Being transparent and authentic with customers is vital for companies operating today and by engaging customers on a personalised level, a closer relationship can be fostered. It’s not enough for businesses to simply tell customers they care about their needs and want to offer a tailored service, with action speaking far louder than words.
Customers who experience hyper-personalisation first-hand, that takes into consideration exact preferences, will remember these actions.
A recently signed agreement with consultancy Accenture is also contributing to the aim of Sitecore to disrupt and transform their architecture and add value to the entire partner ecosystem. As Sitecore is the only company that has an end-to-end cloud portfolio for marketing cloud for the large enterprise, Accenture decided to embrace the Sitecore approach.
“The strategic partnership means that Accenture’s clients can take advantage of our offerings and we’re going to have thousands of Accenture consultants across the world trained and certified on Sitecore’s platform,” he adds.
The partnership with Accenture will help Sitecore extend their global reach to places where it would have been difficult to reach before. Accenture is also bringing a lot of their own intellectual property to support the Sitecore platform and develop the partnership.
“It’s one plus one equals three for Sitecore and Accenture,” says Tzikakis. “Of course, most importantly, our clients are super proud and really motivated by what’s happening down the road, with Accenture and also with many of our other partners.”
Thanks to the growth plans put in place by Tzikakis when he joined Sitecore, the next few years look very exciting for the innovative company. As physical restrictions have loosened over the past year, Sitecore was able to organise their main customer event in mid-October in Chicago.
The Symposium featured more than 100 sessions with leading global companies including General Mills, Mercedes-Benz and Thule. Sitecore saw unprecedented demand from staff, customers and partners for the event, with Tzikakis attributing a great deal of this anticipation to the need to have face-to-face interactions once again.
“Sitecore’s Symposium was a big opportunity for our clients and partners to meet, network and interact. With things picking up again it was a good opportunity for people to go back to the normality we knew.”