Top CMSWire Contributors 2023: Spotlight on Justin Racine

Top CMSWire Contributors 2023: Spotlight on Justin Racine

This is part of our end-of-year series celebrating our top CMSWire Contributors of the Year for 2023. These are regular CMSWire Contributors whose articles this year greatly resonated with our community of professionals. These Contributors simply serve as great ambassadors of our brand in the world of marketing and customer experience.

The Gist

  • Overcoming challenges. Justin Racine’s transformation from a hesitant speaker to an influential CMSWire contributor and industry thought leader.
  • Emotional marketing insights. His articles highlight the importance of emotional connections in marketing for building deeper and more meaningful customer relationships.
  • Future of ecommerce trends. Racine predicts the rise of immersive and social commerce, underscoring the importance of evolving with technological advancements and consumer behaviors.

Have you ever explored the emotional depths of marketing strategies? Justin Racine, in his article “Emotions in Marketing: The Art of Anticipatory Customer Experience,” takes us on a journey through the powerful role of emotions in creating lasting customer relationships. With his extensive background in ecommerce, customer-focused experiences, and branding strategy, Justin, a principal of unified commerce strategy at Perficient and a respected CMSWire contributor, brings over 14 years of industry expertise to the forefront.

In this piece, Justin doesn’t just talk about marketing tactics; he delves into the heart of what makes customers tick. He draws on his personal experiences to illustrate how anticipatory excitement, much like a child’s eagerness for a Christmas gift, can be a potent tool in a marketer’s arsenal. His narrative weaves together nostalgia, anticipation, and the joy of fulfillment to demonstrate how brands can create unforgettable customer experiences.

As a thought leader who has been published in Forbes and Digital Commerce360, Justin’s insights are grounded in real-life applications and a deep understanding of the digital commerce landscape. His ability to connect personal stories with professional wisdom transforms complex marketing concepts into relatable and actionable strategies. His writing is more than a guide; it’s an inspiration for marketers aiming to forge emotional connections and cultivate long-term customer loyalty.

Q&A With Justin Racine

Streaming’s New ‘Watch, Pause, Shop’ Era

In your article about product placement in streaming, you discussed the “watch, pause and shop” concept. How do you envision this evolving in the next few years, and what impact do you think it will have on consumer behavior and ecommerce strategies?

It will have a massive impact on my wallet, that’s for sure! Listen, since businesses have been around — the name of the game is, and always will be, to be in the channel in which your customers are most active. With stats like Americans spending over 13 hours a day on streaming services — it’s hard not to welcome this new concept to part of your strategy if you’re a customer facing brand. As it pertains to the digital commerce arena, we are already seeing a shift with consumers buying through social channels. Forty-one percent of consumers have discovered a product through social channels over the last three months, and 17% of all consumers have purchased directly through their social channel of choice.

With all of this said, consumers will start to develop repeatable behaviors within these channels and will develop affinities for buying through newly created channels like streaming TV, especially if the big streaming providers can leverage multi-channel messaging to remind customers what their favorite character wore in last week’s episode — with a click to buy button, of course.

Building Lasting Brand Loyalty: Beyond the First Impression

Your piece on brand loyalty, using cars and coffee as examples, highlighted the importance of exceptional customer experience (CX). Could you share your thoughts on the most critical factors that brands often overlook when trying to build lasting loyalty?

Brands should approach lasting customer loyalty like dating. All of the little fun, romantic heart warming things you do in the beginning is what sets the foundation for the rest of the relationship. Brands must remember that they constantly have to woo and court their customers throughout their entire relationship, not just at the beginning. What emails are the customers opening? How much time are they spending on the site? What products are they buying? What’s the frequency of purchase? How are they interacting with social channels?

Brands need to pay attention to these touchpoints and ensure that they are doing all they can to extend the exceptional experiences that attracted the customer to their brand in the first place. Because if you want to get married to your customers and be with them for life — it requires work, compromise and love.

Expanding Engagement With Multi-Sensory Experiences

You wrote about embracing multi-sensory customer experiences, like what Corona has done. How can businesses in less traditionally experiential sectors apply this concept to enhance their customer engagement?

It’s all about stepping out of your comfort zone. If you’re a digital only brand with no store fronts, look to enable and schedule a local meet up with customers who might be within your immediate area. Invite them to your distribution center and peel back the onion of how their favorite brand delivers their favorite products. Start a podcast. Sponsor a BBQ. There are many avenues brands can explore that will evoke the sense and enhance the emotional connect with their customers.

As I typically say, you must first start with knowing what drives your customers interests; from there, you should have a good starting point in what type of sensory activity or experience they are interested in. Then, just go and do it. Step out of your traditional brand blanket of security and see what happens, the results may surprise you.

Top Predictions: Ecommerce’s Transformative Future

What are your top three predictions for ecommerce trends in the next two years?

Easy. The continuous rise of Composable Unified Commerce, Social Commerce and Immersive Commerce. As more and more brands look to extend customer experiences beyond the traditional platform approach, they will start to seriously adopt Composable Unified Commerce (CUC). Under this approach, brands will look to truly extend away from Omni-Channel, and put the customer at the center of everything they do. With this, regardless of what channel the customer is in — the experience, content and products will be curated based upon their previous shopping, browsing and content engagement behavior.

Secondly, social commerce will continue to rise for B2C/Consumer facing/Retail brands. With the intermingling of influencers, brands will drive full force into social — embracing the influence and impact it can have on driving purchase behavior (remember, be active where your customer spends the most time). Finally, Immersive Commerce will start to take flight. Looking to buy a new car but don’t have time? No worries — take a virtual test drive through your AR headset. Out for a walk around town and see a pair of shoes you like? No worries — scan the shoe with your Ray-Ban Meta enabled sunglasses and buy it right then and there.

The world of commerce and reality will start to blend together in ways we have never seen before. Where anything, at any time, anywhere — can be purchased through technology enabled devices. Oh, and once you buy it — be sure to share it on your Instagram story.

Guiding Marketers in Ecommerce’s Evolving World

Lastly, as an experienced voice in the industry, what advice would you give to upcoming marketers trying to navigate the rapidly changing landscape of ecommerce and digital customer experiences?

I probably sound like a broken record here — but, start with what matters most to your customers. There will always be new trends and buzz around things like AI as an example, and sure — there likely are elements that you can leverage from this new technology. But implanting components of AI just because it’s popular will never be the right approach. Start first with the needs of your customers, the needs of your employees and of course, the needs of your business — then work backward toward technology that’s available to fix and progress your brand.

Finally, I think it’s important to put your running shoes on and actually take steps in your customers shoes. Try to FEEL the experiences your brand is articulating through your channels, put yourself in your customers shoes — would you buy from you?

Tell us something about Justin Racine outside of your professional life (though we do know a lot already!)

You mean you don’t want to talk about vintage Porsches and cheap beer? OK, fair. Here’s something — I used to be terrible at writing and public speaking. In fact, it was almost a complex! But as with anything that scares you — you must face it head on.

When I was in third grade, my teacher wrote my parents a letter saying that I was struggling so badly that I should consider going to trade school. When I was in sixth grade I was in a special reading education program with two other students because my reading, writing and vocabulary skills were so poor. Before I went into high school my father got me a spell checker (remember those small computer devices you could buy at your local RadioShack?). When I got to college and was forced to stand up in front of the class and give presentations I was crippled with anxiety.

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