Adobe unveiled a host of new retail tools in its Experience Cloud on Wednesday, developed to help retail brands deliver more personalized customer experiences in a changing landscape.
The retail industry is facing a crossroads, challenged by consumers’ move to online and mobile. Toys R Us -- a retail giant with 1,600 stores -- filed for bankruptcy earlier this month, although it says its stores will remain open during the holiday season. Sears Holdings has shuttered hundreds of Kmart and Sears stores this year, while RadioShack closed more than 1,000.
At the same time, companies that were once online-only, like Amazon, are moving into brick-and-mortar storefronts.
Acknowledging the complex retail landscape, Adobe’s release helps brands tap into new marketing opportunities such as voice assistants and user-generated content, to personalize marketing content.
Adobe’s retail announcements include:
Adobe has integrated Experience Manager, its content management platform, with Adobe Target, its website testing and optimization platform. Adobe customers could utilize Target to test and personalize customer experiences based on user behavior.
Underlying that decision layer is Sensei, Adobe’s artificial intelligence, which over time personalizes customer experiences across all touchpoints.
“Sensei is “not an add-on feature,” says Michael Klein, director of industry strategy for the Adobe Marketing Cloud – Retail. “Sensei exists, and it exists within the data platform. Nobody is paying for the data platform.”
Each Adobe solution has its own hook into Sensei, but some -- like Adobe Analytics -- have larger connections. Klein says the ideal situation would be customers’ leveraging Analytics, with Sensei running in the platform layer, alongside Adobe’s Advertising Cloud to “tap into the full power of Sensei.”
Adobe introduces intelligent image adjustments into Adobe Experience Manager, meaning that marketers can ensure their product images render correctly on any device a customer uses. The new tool takes into consideration bandwidth, screen pixel density, and consumers’ devices, and can even deliver a smaller file of the photo for a faster user experience.
Retail transactions are being driven by a myriad of channels, according to Adobe Digital Insights’ retail data. This holiday season, Adobe expects mobile to eclipse desktop traffic, driven by smartphones in particular, so image optimization will be particularly important.
Voice Assistant Integration
Adobe’s Analytics Cloud and Marketing Cloud, accompanied by Sensei, have been integrated with voice Amazon Echo.
“Not as many retailers are building a skill set with voice, but you will see more of it,” says Klein.
Klein predicts that “conversational commerce,” driven by voice and text, will grow. The Analytics Cloud automatically analyzed voice data and can measure customer interactions.
“The Adobe Analytics Cloud automatically analyzes voice data from all major platforms with Adobe Sensei, and measures engagement,” says Klein. “Was the conversation good or not? Do people walk away? It’s no different than how we would define a session through a desktop.”
User-Generated Content (UGC)
Adobe has integrated Livefyre, a UGC platform it acquired last year, into Adobe Target.
Livefyre enables marketers to leverage user-generated content in their cross-channel marketing campaigns, including email. It also electronically gains permission to use the images from users so brands do not infringe on a copyright.
“As advocates are posting content in the social space, we can grab that content and allow a brand to use that content on their earned and owned properties,” says Klein.
Multivariate testing capabilities enable marketers to test user-generated content and evaluate which content will elicit the highest engagement. Livefyre has also been integrated into Adobe’s Experience Manager Commerce so retailers can include user-generated content on product pages.
New Dynamic Capabilities In Advertising Cloud
Adobe customers can now incorporate catalogue data directly into their digital ads, as well as perform multivariate tests to determine the most effective marketing content and messages to deliver to the consumer.
Digital ads supported by Adobe’s Advertising Cloud include search and shopping campaigns, such as Google and Bing; display ads, such as loyalty offers and retargeting ads; and social, like Facebook Ads.