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The Key Attributes of Relationship Commerce

The Key Attributes of Relationship Commerce

What is Relationship Commerce? 

Relationship Commerce is about continuously engaging customers even when they don't have an intent to buy something specific.  This creates the requirement to provide customers with fresh, relevant experiences for every touch over the course of a relationship. Hence, an increased focus on the interactions with customers in the 'upper funnel'.

Engagement without purchase intent

A key principle of Relationship Commerce is to provide experiences that are so compelling that customers engage with a retailer's content, even when they customer does not have an intent to purchase. This is important in order to stay 'top of mind' for each customer and to look for ways to inspire and uncover emerging needs. There are several high-profile examples of this in the market today

A focus on 'Upper Funnel' experiences 

Most experiences a customer has with a retailer occur in the upper funnel and in the vast majority of these, the customer lacks intent or their intent is not well-defined. To increase long-term engagement and give users reasons to keep coming back, it's critical to make these experiences fresh and relevant. These upper funnel experiences are common and occur throughout different touchpoints:

  • Web homepage, section and category pages
  • Promotional emails and lifecycle triggers
  • In-App welcome and browsing experiences, mobile re-engagement mechanisms

What are the Key Attributes of Relationship Commerce?

  • A focus on customer identity and recognition. This must happen across channels and devices. Upon recognition, profiles must continually update with behavioral and customer contributed data and then deliver real-time adapted experiences.
  • Deliver experiences that reflect a customer's entire 'lifetime journey'. Offering experiences that take the entire customer lifetime journey into account instead of just a set of recent actions fosters long-term satisfaction and engagement.
  • Experiences must be responsive to new profile data in real-time. Profile data must include customer contributed data (likes, ratings, follows, wish lists, bids, etc) as well as behavioral data (clicks, views, searches, cart adds, purchases). 
  • Ongoing experiences must not be repetitive, and must be constantly adapting. They must be not only relevant (personalized), but also fresh. Every experience must be different from the previous one even if the user did not take an action. 
  • The requirement for 'freshness' creates a voracious need for content. Content can be in the form of products, sub-catalogs, promotions, and editorial pieces. This content needs to be presented and iterated in a personalized manner for every experience. 

A focus on implementing these capabilities provides both short and long-term benefits related to increased engagement, revenue lift, repeat orders, and higher customer lifetime value.  


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Experiences need to reflect knowledge gathered from the sum of all actions during a 'customer's lifetime journey' and adaptively learn from each customer experience: