The Underutilization of eCommerce Software Investments

I just got back from Episerver Ascend 2018, which was their biggest annual conference yet. Brilliance had five members of our team there, and it was a valuable investment. We learned from Episerver, market leaders, Episerver customers and other Episerver partners.

Underutilization of software investments

One of my takeaways from the event was how often the tools we invest in are underutilized. Based on industry research, only 25%-50% of software features are utilized following a purchase. Based on my own experience, I have found this to be true, not only for Episerver but for many platforms, especially when you have a mature software platform focused on continuous improvement.

Episerver is a platform that has devoted itself to making it easy for marketers to create effective digital experiences for their customers - in any channel and on any device. As a part of that mission, they are constantly innovating, creating new tools and offerings to improve customer loyalty and increase sales – both your average order size and your customer lifetime value.

Whether you are an Episerver customer today, or on a different platform, what gap exists between what your platform is capable of and how you are using it? What new strategies do you want to test and measure? How can you continually improve the capabilities of your site?

Let me share some ideas of ways you could be driving more revenue through your site, leveraging the investment you have already made. While this list is created from features that Episerver offers, you can look to implement these ideas no matter what platform you are on.

Included in Episerver’s Base CMS Offering

  • A/B testing – Setting up A/B tests on your site is a great way to gather data to make improvements and get better results. You define the conversion goals you want to measure like landing page opt-ins, add to cart clicks, site stickiness, average order, or specific product purchase (you can create custom conversion goals as well). With Episerver, there are no additional tools needed, and no Javascript for a 3rd party integration that will add to your site’s load time. You can test a single page or a block that is used on several pages. It can automatically start using the winning variation when it determines the winner. This enables you to not guess what will create value for your site visitors (and for your company) but to use data to determine what the best choice is.

  • Visitor groups are one of the reasons I first fell in love with Episerver back in 2013. You can define rules that will dynamically segment your users based on a variety of criteria (i.e. what page they entered your site though if they clicked on a certain page if they came to your site from Facebook, how much money they have spent with you, etc.). Then, you can use this grouping to display information they are more likely to be interested in. By making a user’s experience more relevant, you will increase customer loyalty and your customer’s lifetime value.

  • Automatic Landing Pages enable you to quickly create landing pages using tags that dynamically serve the correct content without you having to create separate pages every time. Work with your development team to plan the landing pages you want and Episerver allows you to save time and create effective landing pages efficiently.

Additional Episerver Offerings that Drive Value

Episerver has been innovating and has acquired and created several additional products that may be purchased separately or can be bundled together to save you money. While these items may not be a part of your current Epi license, they leverage your existing investment to make it much more powerful and demonstrate a higher ROI.

Check out this video for a quick overview of the experience you can create for your customers:

  • Product recommendations (Perform) is driven by machine learning to determine which products your visitors will be most interested in. The “recommendations engine” is constantly improving itself based on users’ actions. It isn’t just computing recommendations for people in general on your site, but for each individual session, it is calculating recommendations specific to them. This has a clear return on investment that can be demonstrated, yet many companies aren’t using it. 

  • Personalized content (Advance) uses machine learning to recommend content to your visitors, pointing them to other pages on your site that would be of interest. Why is this so cool? Everyone loves the idea of personalization, but few marketers have the time to invest in figuring out the best way to carve up user segments and what content is the best to recommend. That is why visitor groups are often underutilized. In the future, Episerver will provide marketers with recommended content and images suggested in the editor console when they are setting up new pages. 

  • Email personalization (Reach) uses product recommendations to personalize the emails you are sending out. Transaction emails (i.e. order receipt, shipping notification) typically have a much higher open rate than promotional emails. Why not recommend other products they would like along with their order receipt? When you send promotional emails, what if you recommended products along with your promotional offer? There are pre-built integrations for several email service providers so you can keep the one you have. 

  • Email / Marketing Automation (Campaign) enables you to use Episerver as your email service provider, keeping all your marketing data and communications in one place. It provides workflow rules to trigger emails based on user’s behavior, what segment they are in, what they clicked on in a previous email, and more. 

  • Personalizing Search results (Personalized Find) allows you to show different results to different users who both search for the same thing. When someone searches for “pink shoes” they see different results or a different order so the items most relevant to them will be at the top. While this only personalizes product searches today, personalizing content in your search results is on the roadmap.

Drive More Revenue

When you make an investment in a comprehensive eCommerce platform like Episerver and others, there’s a lot of capability there. You have a lot to gain from the investment you have already made.

How can you capitalize on the tools you have to drive more revenue? What improvements can you make?

If you are interested in taking a look at how you can take ongoing incremental steps towards driving more revenue, schedule a call with us. We are happy to help!

Lori McDonald

President & CEO

About

Lori McDonald

Lori graduated from Purdue University with a Bachelor’s degree in Computer-Electrical Engineering and leads Brilliance Business Solutions with over 20 years of computer engineering and software development experience.  She is an Episerver EMVP, a Microsoft Certified Professional and a regular contributor on Practical eCommerce. Her status as a recognized industry expert has resulted in regular speaking engagements at business conferences.

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