On a recent webinar Paul Miller, a Digital Acceleration Leader at McKinsey, explained how B2B and B2C organizations can help their businesses succeed with their digital strategies by focusing on 2 key areas, Commerce Fundamentals and Search. 


“Even today in the ‘New Normal’, its critical not to forget the fundamentals of commerce.” 

Paul posed these simple (but difficult to answer) questions as simple steps every organization should take: 

  1. How do you engage each persona? 
  1. How do you drive the right kind of traffic? 
  1. When they get to your site, how do you create the right kinds of experiences? 


Sharing his views with Gary Schoch from HCL, Paul talked about how regardless of the size of an organization, or whether its B2B or B2C, it’s about understanding your personas and building experiences to satisfy their needs. If you want the higher traffic, conversions or to increase average order values, you need to connect and tailor the experience based on these personas. 

After the fundamentals, Paul talked about the current trends in commerce due to the New Normal. Traffic is coming to your site in new ways, their priorities have changed but he is seeing less competition for pay per click and there is a great opportunity to sell if you know your customer, where to bring them and what to sell them – which is straight back to the fundamentals. 

Paul zeroed in on not setting too much value on your conversion rates! To him, this is too broad a metric and you really need to double-click and get more granular. My experience is the same and have met with clients with amazingly high conversion rates, but the problem is the customer knows what they want, goes straight to the product, purchases and leaves without any cross-sell or upsell to increase the order value! 


“Search is still one of the biggest frontiers” 

Taking the experience one step further, Paul highlighted search as a key component to success and when done right can help get deeper on the conversion metric.  

“I don’t think companies can spend too much time on thinking about search and making search great. That is how customers are engaging with you.” 

But interestingly, he went on to say that the technology is the easier of the two parts of the process. Understanding and building the right experience, using the right content to engage and measuring the right metrics from search is the biggest challenge. Which again reflects recent conversations I have had with clients who ask for solutions that have all the plumbing and integration solved for them, so that their business users can get started right away using the tools. 

There were so many great comments that I could continue, but my advice would be come and hear the full story from Paul at the HCL Commerce Summit on June 23rd. It promises to be the best use of your time as we navigate the New Normal, address the fundamentals for improved performance and take advantage of the latest innovations in HCL Commerce 9.1 

I do want to share one final reflection from Paul Miller, “It’s refreshing that HCL Commerce wants to hear from the customers and build relationships by devoting development efforts to solving those things that customers deem important.”  

Sounds like HCL Commerce and our commitment to working ‘Beyond the contract’, is taking us in the right direction. 

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Further Reading
Marketing & Commerce | November 23, 2020
Why Agility is the #1 Critical Capability in Commerce
The events this year have permanently accelerated the move to digital. As always, the shift has not been universal, with the outcome based on their existing digital maturity or their industry segment read blog for more details.
Marketing & Commerce | November 20, 2020
What it means to go Beyond the Transaction
18 months ago, IBM WebSphere became HCL Commerce, part of the HCL Software unit. I, like many of my colleagues, wasn’t quite sure what to expect. But one of the key messages the leadership team ingrained in us is that HCL Software and HCL Commerce by extension, would be an organization focused on helping our customers excel.
Marketing & Commerce | November 10, 2020
Understanding your customers intentions, and why you should care…!
First let’s will look at why it is important to understand your customers intentions when they search and interact with your Ecommerce site. Many studies show that shoppers using on-site search are, on average, two* times more likely to convert than shoppers that do not search. So, when someone searches on  your site it is important to understand what they want and get them to it quickly. Secondly, mainstream consumer technology and voice assistants such as Alexa and search engines like Google are creating new "Human Computer Interaction" paradigms and expectations from consumers. This will become table stakes to compete in the world of ecommerce creating a knock-on effect for traditional ecommerce search interactions too. Defining the best digital Journey Helping you navigate around this and any new expectations can be simplified by breaking it down into bite size chunks. The first chunk to look at is how you can understand your customers intentions on your site, once you do that it can help you curate an amazing and relevant digital experience. This does raise the question, "how do we know what sort of experience they need"? This can be easier than you think. Human behavior in the retail context can be very predictable and mapped out in journeys. So of you may have been in one of these fun workshops: Once you have mapped out your customers journey the next step is a nice approach that I stole from a retail guru and mentor which has turned out to be very useful. 1) Take the context of the consumer be it: online, instore, mobile, with pushchair & screaming baby, and so on. 2) Take the product or service category: is it essential, discretionary, influencer led & lifestyle signaling, and so on. Armed with these two key points on context and...
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