Clicky

How the Headless Commerce Experience Platform is Driving Digital Transformation for Brands and Retailers – Futurum Tech Webcast Interview Series
by Shelly Kramer | January 26, 2022

In this episode of the Futurum Tech Webcast, Interview Series, I’m joined by Adam Sturrock, VP of Product Marketing at Amplience, for a timely conversation about retail and B2B organizations who are focused on modernizing their digital experiences by way of headless commerce experience platforms that are tightly integrated with commerce platforms. Content management plays an outsized role in customer experience, and that, of course, impacts how quickly an organization is able embrace digital transformation and operate in what is now the ‘new normal’ in ecommerce and retail operations.

Customer experience has changed greatly in the last two years and customers want personalized experiences, which often means personalized messaging, too. But how does an enterprise organization create unique and yet consistent messaging across all channels for all customers? Short answer: it’s all about the customer experience platform and how the data that fuels it is both accessible and utilized throughout the organization as a whole. And with just one goal in mind: serving up the very best in customer experience at every touchpoint in their respective customer journeys.

Content management in the experience era has changed and using the right technology solutions can be a game changer for retailers. Think results like increased site visitors YoY, a decrease in bounce rates, and conversion lift on an annual basis — all of which lead to continued growth and profitability and, equally as important, satisfied customers that keep coming back for more.

Here are some of the key things Adam and I covered in our conversation today:

  • An overview of the challenges retailers and brands have faced over the course of the past couple of years, and the key challenges that Amplience customers have prioritized.
  • What a headless commerce experience is and why it’s becoming a popular solution for brands and retailers today.
  • How a strategy of focusing on serving up more powerful experiences that are fast and efficient, simple, and quickly fulfill a customer’s desires is today’s retailer’s goal (or it should be).
  • How brands are using technology solutions like the Amplience headless commerce experience platform, available in the SAP Store, to create those more powerful experiences.

Adam shared some a customer use case example of a global health and wellness retailer and how they are using the Amplience platform to get the results they’re looking for in a variety of ways. We closed our conversation talking about what’s ahead for 2022 and where we think brands and retailers should be focused on moving forward.

You can watch the video of our conversation here (and subscribe to our YouTube channel while you’re there):

Or stream it here on your favorite podcast platform:

You can find more on Amplience in the SAP store and if you’re interested in more information, you can always reach out to Adam on LinkedIn and he’ll be happy to answer any questions you might have, and if the two of us aren’t yet connected, shoot me a connection request while you’re there – you’ll find my profile on LinkedIn here.

Don’t Miss An Episode – Subscribe Below:

 

Disclaimer: The Futurum Tech Webcast is for information and entertainment purposes only. Over the course of this webcast, we may talk about companies that are publicly traded and we may even reference that fact and their equity share price, but please do not take anything that we say as a recommendation about what you should do with your investment dollars. We are not investment advisors and we do not ask that you treat us as such.

Transcript:

Shelly Kramer: Hello and welcome to this episode of the Futurum Tech Webcast. This conversation is part of our interview series, and I am your host, Shelly Kramer. I’m joined today by Adam Sturrock, who’s the VP of product marketing at a company called Amplience. We are going to have a conversation today about content management, digital transformation, and the role that customer experience plays in successful digital transformation journeys. Before we dive in, I want to set the stage a little bit.

Customer experience, everything today and really for the last few years has been all about customer experience. And that’s changed so much in the last two years alone for a variety of reasons. We want personalized experiences. That often means we want personalized messaging, messaging that compels us to action. But how does an enterprise organization create unique, yet consistent messaging that can be used across all channels for all customers? It’s a lot, I know.

Well, that’s exactly why content management in the experience era is so important, and why it’s such a key part of really marketing operations, sales enablement operations. Content really drives everything and that’s exactly what Adam and I are going to be talking about in our conversation today. Adam, welcome to the show.

Adam Sturrock: Thanks. Great to be here.

Shelly Kramer: Absolutely. Well, it’s great to have you. Tell us a little bit, if you would, I always love to hear my guest’s backstory. Tell us a little bit about your backstory and your career path.

Adam Sturrock: I’ll try and, I guess, whistle through my career history a little bit. I graduated from university here back in the UK and went into a developer role, and that was in a web design and development course. It was in a mid-sized agency working on e-commerce projects for retailers and brands, national brands and regional brands. And then from there, we came up with the idea of headless e-commerce back in 2013, before headless and e-commerce APIs were really a thing. I founded my own company with my two other co-founders.

We were all developers at that agency at the time, a company called Molten. In 2013, we set up maybe a little bit naively, I would say, in terms of what we were walking into. Three developers trying to build a whole e-commerce platform from scratch. And then we went through an accelerator program in the UK that helped us do that full-time. You can imagine there’s quite a lot of things to go and build functionality wise. It’s quite a high barrier to entry. We launched a v1.0 after about three or four months.

I remember the first store that we had that went live on the platform was actually based in New Zealand. It was very difficult scaling challenges, even from day one.

Shelly Kramer: Oh, I’m sure.

Adam Sturrock: And then from there, we went through Y Combinator in 2015, the winter batch. So we all flew to San Francisco and Silicon Valley for a few months. And then we came back to the UK. I think we raised a few million dollars. We built out an engineering team, rearchitectured the entire platform with a microservice-based architecture internally, which also externalized that as a microservice architecture for customers. And then we raised a Series A. Built out a Boston based sales team and office, a go-to-market motion.

And through that journey, we ended up being acquired by a company called Elastic Path in 2019. And then at the end of that acquisition process, I began consulting and left Elastic Path. So last year, I was consulting for retailers and brands, going through various digital transformation projects. Helping them understand the space, understand vendors, understand all the different moving parts. And also, started working with some technology companies like Amplience, as an example.

I was consulting with Amplience in a product marketing role. Then I joined full-time at the beginning of this year. So that’s seven, eight years condensed down into two minutes.

Shelly Kramer: Yeah, I think that’s great. So talk with us a little bit, if you would, about what does it mean when we say a headless first CMS platform? What does that mean?

Adam Sturrock: Headless means a lot of things, so it’s a bit of a buzzword. To me, it really means the separation of the back-end from the front-end. The back-end is the databases, the content repository, the logic processing of the things that need to happen. And then the front-end itself is the experience. That could be the website that your customer interacts with, it could be a mobile application, an IOT device, any number of those things.

And that separation of concerns means that you could get a future proof in a headless CMS world and sense, you can get a future proof CMS that you can interact with and drive all of these different experiences. So it’s a bit of a misnomer, I guess, that headless you do need a head with headless. You could have many heads. That’s what it means to me.

Shelly Kramer: That’s what it means. So instead of calling it many headed, we call it headless because that’s how we are.

Adam Sturrock: Yeah. It doesn’t come with one by default, but you’re going to end up with one or more.

Shelly Kramer: Got it. Well, I thought that was a good place to start with our conversation. So talking about challenges, the last two years navigating a global pandemic. Doesn’t matter where you’re located in this world, there have been challenges for retailers, and brands, and consumers, of course.

But we’re not going to talk about that so much right now. So what challenges coming out of this last two year period and moving ahead, what challenges are you seeing at the top of your customers priority lists? What are they focused on?

Adam Sturrock: There are some elephants in the room, which we can come onto, but I think there’s a backdrop and there’s lots of industry trends and forces that are maybe outside the control of an organization, that they’re still having to deal with and tackle from the silos that exist within their tools or their departments. That’s a team structure perspective that can create operational BRAG, put down the execution of that brand or retailer. You have the likes of the rise of mobile and digital, digitally mobile, native first shoppers.

They expect those seamless shopping experiences online. You mentioned in your intro, the need for personalization and that people don’t just want to be treated as everybody else. They expect personalized offers and content to be delivered to them, which in turn, creates huge pressures in terms of content production for our customers. They have to produce tens of thousands of potential variants. So how do they do that in a programmatic way? Rather than you’re not going to sit there and have a market to create all those variations. It’s physically impossible. There’s not enough time in the day to create all those variants.

Shelly Kramer: Right.

Adam Sturrock: Some of the challenges there’s obviously making, I guess there’s opportunity as well of new channels. IOT is a classic example. How do you begin to embed yourself into the customers in your day-to-day life in a way that’s valuable to them?

Shelly Kramer: Right. Absolutely. So let’s talk a little bit about, we talked about future proofing. I think that’s one of the key things that organizations of all sizes no matter what industry focus learned, that was critically important over the course of the last two year span. We need to focus on being resilient. We need to focus on being able to take quick pivots when we need to. We need to focus on future proofing our business and thinking maybe differently than we have before and taking fewer things for granted like supply chain, for instance.

And the fact that whatever we need will be available the moment we need it, because we know that’s not the case. So I think that for me, it’s all about brands and retailers creating more powerful, more meaningful experiences. And it sounds weird, but the reality of it is I think that we are all, and this is what I’ve tried to tell my clients for a very long time, it’s so easy to be commoditized today. You buy something and you think, “Oh, I really that. Where did I buy that from again?”

And the experiences that we have sometimes are served up in social channels, or they come by way of email, or they come… And I feel like as we’ve moved away from, in many instances, we’ve gravitated from online shopping where I know that I bought this at Target, or at Tesco, or wherever. When I want more of it, I go to Target. Well, now what happens is that we buy things in so many different channels in so many different ways, we have no idea, even sometimes the company that we buy things from.

And that’s really, I think, where focusing on creating a relationship when that sale happens and starting to build customer profiles using the data that you have to say, “Oh, Shelly, you bought this face cream or whatever. Chances are really good.” It’s kind of like Netflix and that’s one of the beauties of Netflix or even Amazon. And of course, gigantic examples, Walmart’s another one. They have so much data that Netflix is constantly telling you, “Well, you’ve watched these shows, chances are good you’ll like these shows.”

So I think that’s really where the opportunity exists for brands and retailers to get super smart with content development, messaging development, and then that delivery as well. I believe that what we need are powerful experiences that are fast, simple, and fulfilling. What do you talk with your retail customers about what it is they need to do to solve the challenges that they have?

Adam Sturrock: There’s a few different things. So from a technology standpoint, that sort of sea of saneness that you described when you can go to any vendor or brand and get the exact same product of service. That’s a commodity business and you might be competing with the likes of Amazon or a marketplace, and that’s a very difficult place to be. Like you said, you need to begin to create those differentiated experiences. It really starts with the technology. So if you are picking up a SaaS tool, which provides template driven website patterns that you follow, everybody ends up looking the same, and that’s not going to create a memorable experience.

So that’s where headless begins to edge in, and you can begin to reinvent that experience and own it and differentiate it in that way. That’s on one side. There is obviously, the internal side as well in terms of you need to live and breathe innovation internally, and think about customer service. Not just in the transactional sense, if I’m just giving you a product or a good. It’s like you said, creating a relationship with the customer. So that could be leveraging personalization engines and CDPs. You could also be thinking about new experiences that you’re going to deliver to a customer.

And especially in the pandemic obviously, anything that’s installing physical that becomes quite challenging to replicate. So you have a customer of ours, Harry Rosen, Canadian men’s wear retailer in Canada. Obviously, they have men’s suits and they tailor those suits to fit you. How do you do that online? How do you provide that same concierge experience to your customer? They’ve had to rearchitect to not only there, as they move to Amplience, but they have to rearchitect the surrounding experience. In some ways, ideally be better than, not just to replicate, but to be better than the offline, in-store experience.

So that’s like a chatbox and quizzes that people can go through to self-serve a little bit and then opt into having that conversation with one of the store clerks. And that requires transformation, not just on the technology side, but inside of the business too, when it comes to retraining the staff, in terms of how are they going to interact with the customer? It’s quite a complicated process to walk through. It’s technology and experience maturity, and the actual team itself that’s delivering that, and the structure of the organization.

And in terms of our future proofing message, you need to adopt an agile…

Shelly Kramer: Mindset.

Adam Sturrock: Technology mindset, rather than being reactive to things. I think that’s what a lot of retail and brands realized in the past two years with COVID that they always had these long-term goals and these long-term plans and that’s fine. But in that planning exercise, the execution will take up however long the plan allows for.

But when you’re pushed and you’re forced into doing something where you have very little time, the actual reality is that you can actually execute on those things. You just have to cut back and think in the agile mentality.

Shelly Kramer: Well, no, I absolutely agree and I’ve spent my career as a strategist. And one of the things that I was thinking actually, even before the pandemic happened, but I believe it’s even more applicable today is that, you know what? I don’t really want to talk about a five year plan. I want to talk about an 18-month plan. And I think that what brands, organizations, enterprises need to understand is that the way we’ve always done it, where we make these long range plans, is not really the best path forward.

And part of it is understanding that we’ve seen such an explosion of technology solutions. Well, I am pretty sure you’re going to agree with me when I say that pace of innovation and new solutions is not going to slow down. It’s only going to speed up. So if you’re used to operating on these long-term plans, by the time you get into year two, something that you’re thinking about might already be obsolete. And so I think that as leaders, and it really doesn’t matter whether you are in marketing, whether you’re in senior leadership.

But no matter what it is you do, whether you’re in IT throughout the organization, understanding that and understanding that this is a ride that we’re all on together. And that being comfortable with constant change, regular evaluation and reevaluation of what our process is, what our technology solutions look like, what does that tech stack look like? How can we augment that? How can we do better? How can we serve up better experiences? How can we create a culture so that our employees like their jobs more and stay?

All of that is part of the equation today. It really is beyond just what technology solution are we going to use? It’s all these other things too. But I think the key point that I wanted to make is that in augmenting what you said it’s like the five year plan, you can still do that, but we need to shorten. We need to shorten those plans. I feel like the pandemic taught us that in a huge way.

Adam Sturrock: And it’s interesting. If you step back as well, human psychology, how the mind works, humans don’t like change. They like things to be the same, so you’ve got to train yourself and your organization to be agile. If something happens tomorrow in your market that you want to be able to react to, how do you make that happen?

Shelly Kramer: Absolutely.

Adam Sturrock: Are you going to be able or are you going to be proactive? And instead of just being reactive, how do you be proactive and make some of those changes happen, and be more competitive and differentiated from your peers?

Shelly Kramer: Yeah. I was interviewing someone that’s going to join our team yesterday. And one of the things that I told him and I tell everybody in our conversation, is one thing I can promise you is that if you don’t love change, love and thrive on change, you will not enjoy working as part of our organization because we’re in the change business. I believe that we’re not alone. It doesn’t matter what your business is, how big or small your company is, I think change is just something that…

Adam Sturrock: It’s a constant.

Shelly Kramer: It is a constant but it’s also like life. And you have no idea what life’s going to throw at you. And we all start out and we have a plan. And then before you know it, you have a kid you didn’t plan on, or you’re buying a house you didn’t plan on, or you’re changing jobs. You know what I’m saying? Life is all about throwing you things like global pandemics.

Adam Sturrock: It’s a journey. It’s all about the destination. And there’s always going to be another peak to climb, another target or challenge to reach to.

Shelly Kramer: Right. Well, and your transformation journey too, this is a really important point is that it is a journey. Your transformation is never done because the rapid pace, the evolution of technology, the changing of solutions, more innovation, more creativity, all kinds of things.

So to me, that’s a very exciting thing. I know it’s not exciting for a lot of people, who aren’t wired for change. But I think that’s super important from a leadership business strategy standpoint to understand is that change is your constant, and you have to embrace it.

Adam Sturrock: You can plot it on a visual graph of technical maturity on the X and on the Y experience maturity and an organization has a certain clock speed. And historically, I’ve seen organizations go through transformation projects that are maybe one or two years long, and it’s a big gear change, a big step change up when they make that big migration.

Shelly Kramer: Right.

Adam Sturrock: But again, even two years could be too long to execute on something. And it’s like how do you adopt a module iterative approach cycle or even a weekly or biweekly cycle?

Shelly Kramer: Absolutely. So now I want to talk a little bit about an experience management platform. Why should SAP users, for instance, think about integrating a platform like Amplience into their business operations?

Adam Sturrock: Maybe it makes sense to step back a little bit and talk through some of the different elements of experience management first, just to level the conversation a little bit. So we covered headless CMS a little bit, and an experience management platform encompasses part of that. So we can already think of Amplience as a headless CMS, that it has a back-end content repository, and we connect to other experiences. We also have to think of about not just content like words and texts, but we also have to think about imagery, assets, videos, rich media.

So Amplience has an integrated DAM as well that we can pull into that content management system, so you have a single source of truth for both content and media. And then beyond just the content management piece, when we talk about experience management, there’s more to it than just content and images. You’re orchestrating all of those front-end experiences so it’s not just websites, it could be a mobile application, it could be an IOT device. We’ve got lots of customers that are experimenting with these new channels.

It could be driving to social or other marketing platforms and having that single place to do that from. That’s on the output end of what an experience management platform delivers, allows the marketing teams to shape. On the back-end side, it’s the integration so it’s the data sources of pulling in maybe a personalization engine, pulling in commerce data, maybe something from a ping, maybe something from SAP. And pulling all of that into a single UI and interface for the marketing teams to augment their experiences that they’re orchestrating and creating.

Shelly Kramer: Right. Absolutely. It sounds like it’s a pretty foundational piece of technology.

Adam Sturrock: Yeah, I would say so. In terms the new age that we live in, it’s almost a maturity model of content management. And then we go headless and we have a repository, but then there’re additional things that you need to get back towards a sophisticated experience.
And when you think about commerce use cases, specifically, those are probably some of the most complex experiences that you can manage when you think about the campaigns, and the scheduling, and the drops of content that you have to do. Maybe it’s…

Shelly Kramer: Right.

Adam Sturrock: … past Friday, all of those things that have to be coordinated. And then not only that, you also want to be confident and sure that you can see those changes ahead of time. You’re not staying up until midnight on Sunday night, to make some changes for the following week.

Shelly Kramer: Right.

Adam Sturrock: You’re able to have confidence and clarity inside your organization when it comes to collaboration, and your workflows and governance. We have a feature, a time machine feature where you can step forward in time and see your experience. It could be a website, a mobile app, whatever the experience is, you can step forward in time and visualize what that is.

Shelly Kramer: Oh, that’s cool.

Adam Sturrock: I think of it as a DeLorean for the marketing team.

Shelly Kramer: I think that’s awesome. I’m going to have to have you walk me through that. I’d love to see that in action. So can you go headless without an experience management platform?

Adam Sturrock: You can. We do see some customers do this, and it’s an interesting thing for us, for me specifically, to see is when a customer has maybe some legacy SaaS platform or whatever it might be, and they decide to rip their head off. And then when they do that, they end up shifting all of their problems into the front-end.

So all of the changes that need to be made, end up being made by a developer. And obviously as a marketer, you’re going to end up having those bottlenecks getting in the way of your delivery.

Shelly Kramer: Oh, absolutely.

Adam Sturrock: So you end up needing to bring something like Amplience in to be able to enable the marketers to do their day job and give the developers the tools they need to deliver on the marketing teams’ requirements. So you can go headless, but you miss the value prop of headless because it’s more than just technology and just separating the front-end from the back-end.

It’s about the operational change that you’re trying to make. That transformation that you’re trying to make to enable your teams to manage as many experiences as possible from one place, rather than having lots of different silos and duplicative effort.

Shelly Kramer: Got it. So I know that many of your customers are SAP users. Talk with us a little bit, I’d love to know if you have and I didn’t ask you in advance to bring this, these examples, so you may or may not have them. I love hearing about customer use cases. Do you have any examples?

You don’t have to tell us who a customer is by name or anything like that. But do you have an example that you can walk us through of a customer who decided to integrate? An SAP customer who decided to integrate Amplience and what their experiences were?

Adam Sturrock: Yeah, sure. We have a lot of different customers on the platform, and they span from people that are on SaaS stacks that aren’t headless. And then we have people that are pure Mac, pure headless, and then we have those that are transitioning in between. I think a good example is we have a global health and wellness retailer that is an SAP in Amplience, a shared customer. They are running Spartacus headless where Amplience is integrated into that front-end. That’s a combination of coming together with commerce and content together, where Amplience is driving the overall experience, the navigations, the imagery.

And then from there, they’re beginning to look at other use cases beyond just for that website. So thinking about the content element of that. So the buyer’s guides, for example, helping somebody through that shopping journey of understanding about the product. It’s not always just about the PDP page and the content on there, but it’s also about educating the buyer as to what recommendations and what things they might be interested in. And then through that, you can see that content and commerce idea through into the blog as well, in terms of how do you create that content in there?

And then how do you upsell and transition that back into that commerce engine and the transaction for checkout? So they’re in that hybrid state where they’re moving into a more headless architecture.

Shelly Kramer: Well, and I will say, my husband occasionally refers to me as a professional consumer and so I buy a lot of things on the internet. And I really use content assets that are on a brand’s website. For instance, if I’m buying skincare products or whatever, I’ll pop over and look at a blog and read a blog about certain, whatever things that are interesting to me.

And as somebody who in years past has developed content for retailers to support their blogs, that’s a big chunk of work. It is a big chunk of work. So when you can use a platform Amplience that can help you connect all those dots, and create and manage that content, I think that’s…

Adam Sturrock: It’s about keeping it on the same property too, because historically, if you look at a traditional, the struggle between content management system and an e-commerce platform. Sometimes those digital properties end up being split where you have a subdomain or a completely different digital property. And that’s not great when it comes to SEO and organic traffic.

You’re wanting to drive people to a single destination, a single place, and you don’t necessarily… And that also comes back to the customer journey itself has shifted. As the shift in mobile has happened, traffic is landing on PDPs, but they’re also landing on other pages, other areas of your experience. And how do you tie that back together to drive that relationship or that experience to differentiate and create that connection with your consumer?

Shelly Kramer: Well, and the other thing as a professional consumer, my observation is if you don’t get this right, you could potentially lose me because I don’t have the time, or the energy, or the patience in waiting for you to get your act together as a retailer. You know what I’m saying? So if I’m clicking around a site or something doesn’t happen, or the purchasing process is too onerous. What I notice all the time, and of course, I know you’re much the same. I am a student of human behavior.

I am a willing, highly passionate student of human behavior. It drives everything that we do, that we think about, that we work on, that we implement. And when I have an amazing e-commerce experience, that instantly sets the bar for all of the other consumer experiences that I have. I know it can be amazing. And when it’s not, it just tells me so much about your company, and so much about how you’re paying attention or not to me. And serving up those…

Adam Sturrock: At the end of the day, it’s all about the customer experience.

Shelly Kramer: Yeah.

Adam Sturrock: And if you’re not delivering on that, they’re going to be able to go somewhere else. They’re going to be frustrated. Everything’s at our fingertips now so the bar has been raised naturally over time. There’s a global platform for competition now. It’s not necessarily just even localized to a specific region.

Shelly Kramer: Absolutely. I don’t think you can hide, you know what I’m saying? I feel as though for a very long time, we’ve seen brands be happy with the status quo. This is our website. It is what it is. Yeah, we need to fix some things and we’ll get to that or whatever.
The reality of it is with this huge shift to e-commerce that has taken place, that accelerated during a pandemic, that in no way is going to slow down. You can’t hide if you’re not doing it right. Your customers are going to notice.

Adam Sturrock: I’m sure at some point, we’ll see some more Blockbusters of the e-commerce world, those that haven’t adapted and become agile. They’ve decided to stick with their technology choices, and their approach of the category browse. And then the PDP page, and then the cart and check out, that linear flow.

Shelly Kramer: It’s so time consuming and so exhausting.

Adam Sturrock: That’s not the experience that people have on mobile anymore. They go from a Google search or some social feed into a PDP. And then they want to get one click and they want to get out. They don’t want to be maybe in there, or maybe again, it depends on the buying journey of what they’re purchasing, in terms of are they sure about what they’re going to buy?

And you want be able to support that decision making process, which is where buyers guides or content in commerce can really come in. The romance copy on a PDP page where they’re getting further into that evaluation process and ready to buy.

Shelly Kramer: Yeah. I think we’re going to see a lot of refinement moving forward into 2022. What else do you see on the horizon? What are you seeing from your customers, or requests that they have of you, or just industry trends? I’d love to hear your thoughts, as we wrap up this conversation.

Adam Sturrock: Yeah. So I think the past year also, we’ve obviously seen curbside pickup, and buy online, and pick up in store increase, and that trained the consumer on having it as an option, as a convenience as well. I think that’s going to continue even post-pandemic, hopefully when that eventually happens, that’s going to stay around.

Shelly Kramer: Right.

Adam Sturrock: I think that also self-checkout is going to be big as well. Amazon’s obviously making some headway with their stores. And we’re going to probably start to see other retailers and brands trying to catch up to them because that’s the ultimate, in terms of seamless shopping experience in store. We’re going to see the same thing happening online with Amazon’s got the one-click checkout. How do retailers and brands get the same one-click experience?

We’ve obviously got the cookie apocalypse that’s going to be raining down on us at some point. Where a lot of the retailers and brands that may have relied on third party services and analytics in the past may need to begin thinking about a CDP. And bringing together all their customer data in one place so that they can own it. And they can, from that data, drive their business forward. And I think just [crosstalk]-

Shelly Kramer: And by the way, that’s always been the smart path. It’s just not been the path because of the cookie world that we’ve lived in, that we haven’t always owned our data, had it accessible, everything else. So I think that even though it’s a challenge, I think it’s an exciting time.

Adam Sturrock: It a good forcing function. And I think we’re also going to see the continuing adoption of headless and Mac, which we haven’t really talked about, but the evolution of headless and getting towards composability too. Because I guess there’s maybe some misconceptions, or maybe there’re some things maybe quite well placed when it comes to a retailer or a brand knowing if they’re ready for headless or not. That is around the technical maturity. Do they have a development team or an SI that they can come in and bring into that process to help them set up their architecture and then maintain it going forward?

What does that plan look over time? We’re going to see the barriers to entry for headless come down, as the ecosystem continues to mature. That’s already happening, where we begin to see more open turnkey integrations between vendors, which are more seamless to turn on. We’re also going to probably see some of the low-code, no-code movement being merged in with headless, in terms of the next WiziWig drag-and-drop editors. And not just for web, but for other interfaces too. So it’s a very exciting time, I would say. It’s also a lot of challenges for people to solve.

Shelly Kramer: Well, and I don’t care what it is. I was having this conversation with a friend yesterday, marketing has gotten more complex than ever before. I think there used to be a time when you could truly step into perhaps a CMO role and feel like, “I’ve got this. I know everything I need to know.”

But with the evolution of technology, and with marketing becoming so technology driven and so data reliant. There’s so many moving pieces to the equation that really looking at your MarTech stack and figuring out what the key elements are, it’s a fundamental part of your strategy.

Adam Sturrock: Yeah. That’s what we see. Like as you adopt more and more technologies, you end up with this fragmented ecosystem. And then your teams are working across dozens of fragmented interfaces to get one thing done. What we’re trying to do at Amplience is bring that back into a single UI, so that you’ve got your cockpit where you can get in there, and do stuff.

And pull your experience together without having to jump into other tools, which breaks your flow and slows you down. We want to see people getting the same thing that happens in the development world of agile, your methodologies, where they’re able to it really quickly. We want to see that same thing happen in the marketing world.

Shelly Kramer: Yeah, absolutely.

Adam Sturrock: We’re still not quite there yet, but I feel like it’s going to happen sooner rather than later.

Shelly Kramer: Sooner rather than later. Well, I think for the organizations who get it, and who get that this is table stakes to compete in today’s…

Adam Sturrock: We’ve seen some organizations beginning to experiment with that like cross-functional team structure, these little squads and pods people that have a lot of different domain knowledge that come together to move faster. I guess it’s part of that organizational transformation and risk management of wanting to make sure you’ve got something replicable first that you can take organization wide.

But you have to start with a small kernel and iterate your way there, and go through that process to learn what does and doesn’t work. Every vendor and brand, brand and retailer is different, they have different challenges. They’re in different markets. The buyer is different. There’s a lot of different moving parts that you need to work through. I see the world like it’s a graph where everything is related to it. Everything else, you got to figure out how to navigate that.

Shelly Kramer: Yeah, absolutely. So Adam Sturrock, VP of product marketing for Amplience, thank you so much for joining us. For those of you watching or listening, if Amplience sounds like something you are interested in checking out, and I think it should be, you can find it in the SAP store and get lots more information. I’ll include a link to that in our show notes. I’ll include a link to Adam’s LinkedIn profile.

So if you think that guy sounds pretty smart, I’d like to connect with him, do that. Thank you so much for making time today to have this conversation. I am with you. I think that this is an exciting time. I think that this kind of experience, customer experience platform is truly an important part of e-commerce operations and retail success.

Adam Sturrock: Awesome. Thanks so much for having me.

Shelly Kramer: Absolutely. Well, we’ll talk again soon, I’m sure.

Adam Sturrock: Yeah. Most likely.

About the Author

Shelly Kramer is a Principal Analyst and Founding Partner at Futurum Research. A serial entrepreneur with a technology centric focus, she has worked alongside some of the world’s largest brands to embrace disruption and spur innovation, understand and address the realities of the connected customer, and help navigate the process of digital transformation. She brings 20 years' experience as a brand strategist to her work at Futurum, and has deep experience helping global companies with marketing challenges, GTM strategies, messaging development, and driving strategy and digital transformation for B2B brands across multiple verticals. Shelly's coverage areas include Collaboration/CX/SaaS, platforms, ESG, and Cybersecurity, as well as topics and trends related to the Future of Work, the transformation of the workplace and how people and technology are driving that transformation. A transplanted New Yorker, she has learned to love life in the Midwest, and has firsthand experience that some of the most innovative minds and most successful companies in the world also happen to live in “flyover country.”