With retail customers like Dollar Tree and White House Black Market, Oracle knows a thing or two about commerce. Their recent report, published in conjunction with CommerceNext, dives into how brands of all sizes - from DTC to Enterprise and Luxury, are investing in 2019 and beyond.

Main Takeaways:

  • Bob Meixner, Director of Product Strategy - Commerce & Loyalty at Oracle, joins Phillip on today's episode.
  • API-focused commerce gives brands the power and flexibility to create innovate commerce solutions.
  • Headless commerce is the future, but sometimes developing standalone headless solutions brings you back to square one with functionality.
  • Thanks to some insightful marketing research by Oracle, we have greater insight into where brands are spending their recently increased marketing budgets.

First Meetings and Background: Who is Bob Meixner?:

Oracle Today: Who is Using the Platform?

  • Phillip asks Bob to talk more about what companies are using Oracle today, especially given Phillip's perspective that it is all large scale, enterprise corporations.
  • Bob informs us that they have taken a lot of time taking on-premise systems that had longer implementation times and reimagining them as a cloud solution that is API first.
  • The expectation of the software vendor being the actual hosting provider of the platform is something that is a big shift from the way platforms used to be hosted.
  • Oracle has developed an architecture that allows you to have total creative control and extensibility on both the frontend and the backend while not losing upgradeability and the benefits of what you would expect in modern SaaS.

Examining the Report: How Retailers are Investing in Digital Commerce:

  • Phillip alludes back to Bob's talk at CommerceNext and talks about how interesting and comprehensive the report covered in the talk was.
  • Oracle wanted to get a take on where folks were investing and they thought it would be helpful to publish some numbers on where digital commerce professionals were investing on a year to year comparative basis.
  • Respondents include over 100 people at various large brands such as wholesale manufacturers, direct to consumer brands, multi-brand retailers, and digital-first multi-brand retailers.
  • Download the report to take a look at the report yourself and get a better insight into the data.

Key Insights: What Does the Report Tell Us?:

  • Great news: budgets are on the rise in regards to eCommerce marketing and interesting enough, direct to consumer brands are increasing their budgets at a higher rate than traditional retailers.
  • These budget increases are being used to make transactions much more frictionless which includes things like alternative payment types and chatbots for customer service scenarios.
  • If you think about a lot of buzzwords in the industry such as augmented reality and voice, those are not being heavily invested in.
  • The biggest barriers to achieving eCommerce goals are managing the array of solutions that brands deploy in their commerce and marketing stacks, issues with quickly executing on commerce initiatives, the inability to get a unified view of the customer, and aging technology systems.

Things Are Harder Than They Seem: The Difficulties With Commerce:

  • In another bit of research done by Oracle in partnership with Jeanne Bliss, there were over a thousand consumers surveyed that showed that consumers are willing to pay a premium for personalized and novel experiences.
  • More than half of consumers are comfortable sharing personal information if they receive a better experience.
  • People are willing to share information, but how are brands capturing this information and what are they doing with it?
  • These challenges have not been solved yet due to all of the different solutions that claim to solve it, but many of them only solve a piece of the puzzle.

Ways to Stick Out: Getting Ahead of the Competition:

  • The Oracle report also mentions that there is an opportunity for brands to differentiate themselves amongst their peers by investing in voice technology.
  • Bob adds that ignoring voice technology might be something that is a detriment to your brand.
  • With the move to a headless world, voice technology will be a major player in the toolset that allows customers to interact with the brands they shop at.
  • Phillip did a talk a few years ago called The Shopping Cart is Dead that spoke about similar possibilities with voice technology.

How to Be Successful With Innovation: Tidbits to Live By:

  • The fear of the unknown does not keep consumer brands from trying new things.
  • Retailers and brands need platforms that allow them to succeed quickly or fail fast because that is what you need to figure out to succeed in today's economy.
  • There are some many different unknowns at all levels in commerce, so leveraging platforms that have open APIs that let you experiment with new technologies is imperative.
  • Open APIs that build differential experiences for their customers are going to be necessities for brands to push the envelope.

Bringing It Back: How Oracle Is Approaching Innovation:

  • Oracle Commerce Cloud is API first, cloud-native, and grants its users the ability to inject commerce into any level of engagement.
  • Sometimes people approach commerce with the need to reinvent the wheel, but if you do this, you end up back where you started from.
  • Oracle wanted to make sure that they provided a platform that lets your brand go headless where it makes sense, but gives the powerful automation that doesn't come along with custom-built API interactions.
  • "Quick is king right now. Most people suffer from spending an inordinate amount of time with their legacy platforms trying to do basic functions".

The Future Commerce Tradition: Thoughts for the Future:

  • Phillip asks Bob to give his thoughts on what commerce will look like in the next few years in addition to what challenges retailers will face.
  • Bob mentions that direct to consumer startups will need to figure out how to scale if they truly want to succeed: scalability is king.
  • Enterprise retailers need to move faster because the ability to think and execute like a digitally native brand is how they're going to survive.
  • In the luxury market, brands need to continue to invest in the overall customer experience because the value of the overall experience is greater than the actual product or service than the brand provides.

Brands Mentioned in this Episode:

As always: We want to hear what our listeners think! Where would you focus a larger marketing budget to make sure that you are keeping up with headless trends while still providing stability and functionality for your commerce platform?

Let us know in the content section on Futurecommerce.fm, or reach out to us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or Linkedin.

Have any questions or comments about the show? You can reach out to us at hello@futurecommerce.fm or any of our social channels; we love hearing from our listeners!

With retail customers like Dollar Tree and White House Black Market, Oracle knows a thing or two about commerce. Their recent report, published in conjunction with CommerceNext, dives into how brands of all sizes - from DTC to Enterprise and Luxury, are investing in 2019 and beyond.

With retail customers like Dollar Tree and White House Black Market, Oracle knows a thing or two about commerce. Their recent report, published in conjunction with CommerceNext, dives into how brands of all sizes - from DTC to Enterprise and Luxury, are investing in 2019 and beyond.

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