Written by Eric Marotta, Product Marketing Director at Salesforce, | Nov 15, 2016
Recently, Gartner Research has been investigating how leading brands are investing in a product development strategy that transforms around the customer with greater speed. We’re excited to share CloudCraze customer, Kellogg’s Bear Naked, was recently featured in Gartner’s marketing watch series report, which identifies organizations that have taken an innovative, agile approach to product offerings. The report highlighted the quick, agile and iterative approach Kellogg’s Bear Naked direct-to-consumer custom granola took using CloudCraze.
Gartner praises Bear Naked and other nimble players for their ability to launch quickly, learn and iterate rapidly upon launch. With CloudCraze, Kellogg’s deployed BearNakedCustom.com in just three months, including selecting from over 50 unique ingredients, agency design and integration with IBM’s Chef Watson.
As B2B commerce evolves, an agile, customer-centric approach to digital experiences is critical to meeting the complex demands of the industry and buyers. At CloudCraze, we know this well. Recent articles in InformationWeek and CEOWorld illustrate our market-leading insight in agile implementation and transformative B2B customer experiences.
Taking an agile approach to development is only the first step in delivering agility to a project. Companies must go beyond simply adopting agile–they must add meaningful experiences in a very short time. And executing a robust project roadmap that meet and exceeds customers’ desires for innovation requires a technology platform that can be adapted and iterated rapidly.
There are three key factors that play into supporting this agile philosophy. When selecting a long-term platform solution that delivers speed to market and scalability, brands should ensure their technology investments are:
- Quick and Agile with Iterations: You’ll need technology that is configurable, or able to accommodate the various use cases and changing needs of the customer with minimal to no coding required. Where it used to take a dedicated IT team to iterate features for specific customers, today, business and marketing teams can quickly and easily adjust software to the changing needs of the market–and most importantly, to customers.
- Extensible: Much like movie producers plan for a potential sequel by ending a movie with an open-ended plot, you’ll also want to consider the extensibility, or degree to which the technology stack (foundation of UX) can be extended through robust APIs. An extensible technology allows organizations to take advantage of technology shifts (inputs like AI, IoT and new touch points like set top boxes, SMS) and usage of the technology in existing investments (e.g. CRM, ERP, etc.) with a medium-to-low amount of coding required. Having an extensible customer platform will allow you to improve current customer experiences with new and smarter capabilities like Salesforce Einstein or other cloud technologies.
- Flexible: Finally, invest in technology that is flexible in its design so that you can swap out software from your stack without complication or third-party assistance. Today, there is an increasingly large stable of solutions that drive innovation in the marketplace. With the right UX foundational investment in a cloud-based, configurable and extensible commerce platform, your business can adopt and experiment with new innovations more easily. Replacing behavior in the UX with these solutions is more effective than constantly extending your platform through coding (e.g., when you need to utilize an external promotion engine) because it ensures future compatibility.
Sixty-one percent of marketers expecting to increase their digital commerce spend next year, and all of them should be thinking about how their platform can support an agile, iterative, and customer-centric approach to commerce. A configurable, extensible and interchangeable solution will allow you to stay ahead of the curve in product releases, and more importantly, customer service.
To learn more about this methodology in taking an agile, iterative approach to B2B commerce, download our B2B Commerce Playbook.