E-commerce buyers are frustrated. And brands who build communities to create awareness and engagement around their products aren’t closing as many sales as they could. So said Sameer Patel, senior vice president, product management and go-to-market for collaboration software at SAP, in a recent conversation with CMSWire.
“There’s a dead end in customer journeys,” said Patel, explaining that because there’s no “buy” button on community sites, potential customers have to literally navigate away from where they’re engaged to make purchases.
This not only puts an unnecessary roadblock between brands and would-be buyers, but also puts sales at risk because once a potential customer disengages from a community site to search for a way to make a purchase, anything can happen. Shoppers can end up on a competitor’s site and buy a product there or simply lose focus.
All of the effort and expense in crafting communities, engaging with members and creating content goes to waste.
A Blended Approach
This is a problem that SAP can help its customers solve via SAP Jam Communities, Edition for SAP hybris Commerce, according to Steve Hamrick, vice president of product management for SAP Jam.
The key to the solution is understanding the customer’s buying journey.
When consumers search for a product via Google, the first links to surface lead to mobile-optimized community sites, said Patel. That’s because Google is tuned this way. On those sites they’ll typically find blog posts, customer created (a.k.a. peer) product reviews, Q&As and product information. Once a highly engaged shopper picks a product and has the impetus to make a purchase, he has to leave the site.
SAP’s solution aims to solve this problem by delivering real time product- and service-related information to aid consumers on their buying journey. This edition can display personally relevant recommendations as well as reviews directly in e-commerce stores.
By blending community and commerce — two integral elements of the customer journey — brands can create a unified experience to better guide consumers through the purchase cycle, and in turn, improve conversions for e-commerce providers, said Patel.
According to Patel, SAP Jam Communities is the first product on the market that blends social content such as customer-driven reviews and information into commerce to inform decision making, introduce related products and build relationships with loyal customers.
The intended result? Improved conversion rates and a superior customer experience.
Customizable by Design
One of the big benefits of this solution is that it was built API-first, according to Hamrick. Its components are containerized as microservices so that they can be easily plugged into apps and web pages so that brands can deliver the right contextualized experience.
Someone who wants to buy an iPhone case, for example, needs a different depth of content than someone who wants to buy a washing machine. This is where SAP’s modular approach could help serve both brands and customers better than less flexible tools.
The brands who win the future will be those who meet customers on their terms. If SAP Jam Communities, Edition for SAP hybris Commerce, succeeds in reducing the friction between engagement, research and purchase, it might just help brands and customers navigate away from those dead ends.