With the Fall conference season in full swing, I’ve been thinking about what makes for memorable connections at these events. Shaking hands and talking to partners, customers and prospects all day is exhilarating but also overwhelming! How does someone make a lasting impression? How does someone make that personal connection?
It always seems to come down to finding a shared experience or common challenge. You know someone they know or lived in the same city or both love zombie movies.
Whatever it is, something in their life touches on your experiences, interests or passions. To quote famous science fiction author Robert Heinlein, you “grok” each other: you have a deeper understanding, a connection of the minds. This is essential.
Yet what makes it lasting, is something purely emotional because it comes down to how speaking with that person made you feel. We don’t often think about the mechanics of how we make connections except that when all the stars align we are rewarded with intellectual stimulation, confidence and friendship. We find someone who understands and inspires us and somehow makes us better.
This is a fitting way to think about how we as vendors, retailers and brands mirror these connections with our customers. The challenge of making personal connections at a large trade show like Shop.org is the same as a retailer trying to win over a new customer. That first conversation, like the first transaction, is the start of the relationship.
We know this intuitively when it comes to making individual connections yet somehow lose sight of the basics when the currency of engagement shifts from a conversation to a product.
The reality is that to achieve the lasting customer engagement retailers and brands are after, we need to re-think how we interact with our customers across every channel. We need to think about every touch point from the first handshake to the follow-up delivery and subsequent interactions. This is what omnichannel commerce is all about.
Retail must become more than just a transactional moment around product, price and place. It is a journey in which your customer moves from discovery to engagement, to purchase decision, to product and service experience, and, ultimately, to a decision as to whether it was all worth it or not.
Omnichannel strategies allow you to travel that journey with your customer…to see and experience everything your customers are experiencing…and to respond accordingly. They allow you to learn, gather relevant data, and become increasingly effective at improving every experience and retaining every customer.
This new omnichannel reality mandates the breaking down of organizational and functional siloes across marketing and operations, online and offline. It also raises the bar for marketing excellence higher than ever. Marketing must shift from customer acquisition to a full-fledged architect of customer engagement across the complete customer journey.
That is the premise behind the newly launched eBay Enterprise Commerce Marketing Platform. Find out what you need to Know Now to make a lasting connection with your customer!
Editor's Note: This post originally appeared on the eBay Enterprise blog.
About Craig Hayman
Craig joined eBay Enterprise in July 2014, bringing more than 30 years of enterprise technology leadership experience. He most recently served as Worldwide General Manager of IBM’s Industry Cloud Solutions, where he led acquisitions of more than a dozen companies and greatly expanding the company’s commerce business. Follow him on Twitter: @chayman