Embracing Non-traditional Touchpoints

When you hear omnichannel — what comes to mind? Mobile, in-store, perhaps a physical catalog or call center?

In 2019, omnichannel is omnitouchpoint — serving your customer anywhere they interact with brands, content, influencers and their peers. Omnitouchpoint goes beyond traditional “channels” and incorporates emerging engagement points such as AI-driven chatbots, connected devices such as Google Home, social networks, third-party apps and more.

The independence and API-driven nature of microservices make them perfect for extending interactions to any and all touchpoints and achieving what analysts call commerce everywhere. Unlike monolithic platforms that struggle to extend beyond the Web clients they were designed for, microservices allow new touchpoints to connect to only the services and data they need, in the format that best suits the experience.

Omnitouchpoint commerce in context

Commerce everywhere is highly contextual. It’s not about forcing your e-shop’s functionality into a smaller screen or new device. It’s about extending commerce to the many emerging touchpoints that have their own interface (or lack of interface), user controls and functionality. Customers engage with them differently than when sitting behind their computer. Mobile users are on-the-go. Social users are hyper-scrolling and consuming “digestible content.” In-store shoppers use digital for research and comparison. Voice assistants serve content at the user’s command.

An AI-driven chatbot, for example, may only need to pull product names, pricing, store availability and inventory data. It doesn’t need to be hardwired to the entire commerce application, and developers don’t need to figure out how to ensure the new hardwired touchpoint will play nicely with the entire codebase. APIs allow the end-point to grab only the data it needs from the services it needs, in the way it needs. Developers can deliver new, contextual experiences faster, and end-user performance is enhanced.

For example, microservices architecture allowed Best Buy to build an AI-driven, conversational commerce experience with Google Assistant. An “OK Google, talk to Best Buy” command launches the voice chat, which allows customers to search for products, get recommendations, ask questions, check store availability or reserve in store. Rather than weed through Best Buy’s massive catalog and complex taxonomy, customers can get the information they need without a single finger tap.

Best Buy integrates commerce and customer service with Google Assistant/ Photo Credit: MobileSyrup

For experimental projects, microservices and APIs make it easy to deploy and roll back new touchpoints without impacting code of the entire application. Because microservices are smaller, independent applications, they’re more efficient to work with. A “minimum viable experience” can be launched, tested and iterated upon with minimal risk to systems and budget.

No more silos

Ideally, customer journeys are seamless across all engagement points. But for many enterprise brands and retailers on monolithic commerce platforms, extending commerce to new and emerging touchpoints could only be achieved by building stand-alone, siloed experiences with third-party tools and agencies. Not only is this costly and inefficient, customers feel the disconnect. Because microservices architecture allows the core commerce application anywhere, it means the end of siloed experiences.

And unlike monoliths with which, when it’s time to replatform or upgrade require, all add-on touchpoints must be ripped apart and re-integrated, microservices architecture is “future proof.” Microservices are independently added, replaced or upgraded, simplifying the maintenance of omnitouchpoint experiences.

For the enterprise that wants to innovate through an omnitouchpoint strategy, microservices architecture provides the speed, agility and flexibility to make it happen.

Interested in learning more? Check out our latest webinar Practical Applications of Microservices for Ecommerce on-demand.