Digital Experience Platforms are gaining popular among Asian businesses (Photo by GREG BAKER / AFP)

Tweaking the digital platform experience for personalization in SEA

For businesses around the world, building a great digital platform is essential. However, compared to other regions, the consumer culture in ASEAN is very much different.

Today’s connected customer demands proactive service, personalized interactions, and connected experiences delivered seamlessly across all channels. Be it banks, eCommerce sites, or government agencies, if they can’t deliver, they’re going to lose prospects to a competitor that can or face harsh criticism on social media.

With over a dozen major languages being spoken in the region alone, establishing strong trustworthiness and providing personalized digital experiences are becoming key factors for success.

As such, marketers and IT leaders are in a conundrum. Many marketers have heard the term “Digital Experience Platform” (DXP) but seem to still be skeptical. This is because most of them are unsure how exactly they can implement DXP to their business models and how successful a DXP platform can actually be towards their business.

The digital platform experience conundrum

According to a survey by Progress and Pulse, only 12% of marketing and IT decision-makers have found a DXP that meets their organization’s specific needs. This is quite low given the impact personalization can have on consumers, especially in this part of the world.

The survey also showed that 35% of organizations have not implemented a DXP because the solutions available on the market offer capabilities they may not even use, and they don’t want to overpay.

For example, an eCommerce platform may not find a need for video capabilities on their DXP as their focus is more on sales.

However, with growing popularity in video and audio content like shoppertainment, more businesses are beginning to see how such capabilities can actually benefit their business. For eCommerce, video and audio content can help consumers understand the platform better.

DXP market and growth

The global DXP market size is expected to reach US$15.8 billion by 2025 with APAC to register the fastest growth from rising adoption of the internet and smartphones among the millennial population.

The Chinese and Indian markets are expected to see the biggest growth with the surging presence of the Information Technology Enabled Services Industry (ITES) across the region.

The digital experience platform market includes key players such as Adobe, IBM, Progress, Acquia Inc, SAP SE, Microsoft, and Oracle. They are constantly developing advanced functionalities for their digital platforms to enhance customer engagement and retention.

DXP has been a buzzword in the software space for the past few years. We need to define what a digital experience is all about. Is it really about a customer experience? Today, customer experiences are needed in websites, mobiles, email campaigns, text messaging, digital signages, wearables, or even kiosks.

“This surge of digital touchpoints tries to reach the customer. With increased data being generated at the same time and these new digital channels, how can businesses cope? And this is where DXP comes in,” explained John Yang, Vice President for the Asia Pacific and Japan at Progress.

To Yang, a DXP is all about providing collective, integrated products and services together to provide a consistent customer experience throughout all these channels. Customers do not want to go through the same processes every time they visit a website or app of the same company.

They want to be able to access applications conveniently without the hassle of signing in, picking preferences, and such.

“Personalization is the future of eCommerce. A seamless experience that integrates every part of the business, which can gain intelligence, automation, and bringing the digital transformation to deliver it. This is what DXP is all about,” he added.

Building a digital platform with great customer experiences

Yang pointed out that medium-sized companies face more challenges in developing a DXP compared to large Fortune 500 companies. Large enterprises have tonnes of data and an army of IT developers to help them design the best digital platforms for their business.

For mid-sized businesses, organizations that have less than 5,000 employees need to first realize that the entire process is not going to be a walk in the park. It’s not like a subscription platform. It’s a journey that they need to build bit by bit and tweak as their business expands.

“Most mid-sized businesses would already have a marketing product stack. They need to see how they can align their DXP vision with their current business and product stack and see which areas need improvement. This will be an easier way to success for mid-sized companies,” he added.

Mid-sized businesses also need to pay attention to their current business workflow. Most of these companies would have a customer relationship management (CRM) or email management system at hand. They need to look at their current business tools and see what’s working and what’s not. A lot of companies look at their content management system (CMS).

The CMS system is often out of date, and they are facing a new industry need that requires a CMS that is DXP compliant. It needs to be future-proof so it can support omnichannel marketing and with some level of personalization capabilities.

“Everyone wants to engage with their customer virtually. Whatever type of business you may be, nobody wants to be left behind. If you look at business sizes, most of the mid-sized are establishing themselves while the smaller ones (SMEs), are looking to join the bandwagon as well. Be it manufacturing, finance, healthcare, everyone is looking to DXP and revamping their digital strategy to create more engaging customer experiences,” explained Yang.

The SEA digital platform and customer experience market

Focusing on Southeast Asia, Yang opined that the region is very much different and vibrant compared to the rest of Asia Pacific. It is very rare to see a large enterprise with tens of thousands of employees compared to the Americas and Europe. In southeast Asia, businesses look more towards regional digital platforms offering their business.

“If a business is successful in Malaysia, they will venture into Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, and so forth. Their go-to-market is multi-language and multi-region. This comes in very early, even before they become mature businesses. Not all of them have huge IT teams. Southeast Asia companies do more campaigns compared to their continental peers.

“They want software that enables their market teams to generate results and better return of investment. Many of them are looking to update and change their eCommerce engine to scale and meet the demands of the DXP. They will take a modular approach to make ROIs faster,” he added.

At the end of the day, every business wants to win their customers. With DXP gaining popularity, the adoption will only continue to grow with better technology experiences such as the use of virtual reality.

As Yang puts it, there is no turning back from a digital experience platform with personalized experiences being the future of businesses.