Digital Transformation is here to stay. Companies have taken to adopting SMAC – social, mobile, analytics, and the cloud. We have seen digital transformation go through five generations of evolution:
- Phase I: The early stage of the digital transformation (the mid-1990s) saw customers accelerating collaboration and connectivity with digital technology- AOL/Hotmail based emails, Yahoo/Google internet search etc. rather than leafing through books, encyclopedias or writing letters. Newspaper companies started feeling the pinch along with paper-based advertisers.
- Phase II: The customer started to willingly trade off tactile perusing of actuals good and services in-store with online purchases (1994+ especially with Amazon’s foray into books and music). Bookstores like Barnes and Noble and music stores like Radio Shack and Circuit City collapsed.
- Phase III: The explosive launch of Facebook (2004+) and iPhone (2007+) ushered in a cataclysmic connectivity of humans across the globe in an unprecedented social network wave. Camera companies and land-based telephone lines came under attack along with cable/satellite companies.
- Phase IV: The rapid virtualization of IT infrastructure began, starting with VMWare (1998+) and now AWS, Microsoft Azure, etc. This means it is now very easy to put together globally scalable infrastructures on demand. Big challenges in data security and privacy remain but this is not going to stop the accelerated adoption of the cloud.
- Phase V: New age robotics and new age smart machines are driving the so-called Internet of Things (IoT) revolution that is now a world of smart sensors and smart machines connected to smarter humans. We are surrounded by data streams of all kinds and it is harder, not easier to know what the consumer truly wants in this new world of fleeting attention spans.
Businesses of all kinds including industrial markets (business to business) are facing lower profitability and hyper-competitive markets due to competing strengths from digital transformation. Companies that embrace digitally driven transformation see faster growth than the market. Digital Transformation is impacting how companies offer products/services, approach marketing and sales, manage internal processes as well as partner with their suppliers and channel partners in a global ecosystem. The race is on globally to get to the new levels of efficiencies.
While it appears that availability of technologies is driving the digital transformation, the reality is that customers are demanding faster, better and cheaper experiences, and technology is playing a significant role in delivering such customer-centric transformation.
It is imperative to note that just placing a “Buy Now” button to make it convenient for a customer to act, does not make an e-commerce retailer customer-centric or successful. Driving better customer experience through an improved understanding of customer expectations is the key to making an e-commerce retailer successful.
What does this really mean? Numerous tombstones littered with e-commerce start-ups are out there, as they failed to understand true shopper expectations. Not all shoppers are looking for the cheapest price, some care about the ability to shop in-store and feel the product before making a purchase, even if that might be online. High involvement categories like automobiles, furniture, and homes provide numerous opportunities to customize, compare, and accessorize shopper purchases,
but shoppers ultimately, desire to walk in to the store before they make a final purchase. Often the customer journey for products like computers, phones, and even groceries starts first with familiarizing and evaluating the product in-store, before making a purchase online.
We, at OSG, can help you design the combination of online and physical presence that is most appropriate for your business. We can help you connect shoppers on their journey both in the digital and physical world. Before we say more about how we do that, let’s discuss how the consumer has evolved in the last few years.
Mass Personalization forces are beginning to converge with the ability to deliver immediately. What does that mean? All the benefits of global, locally!
Some tips on how to go beyond the “Buy Now” button and secure premium pricing for your products and services:
- Virtual window shopping must be friendlier and more fun…as fun as trying out new clothes in the local mall
- Save shopper’s preferences and show relevant styles based on specific preferences
- Get the timing right and don’t provide information or seek feedback from shoppers at the wrong time
- Nudges must not be frequent. They should become useful reminders whilst addressing shopper needs
- Incentive purchase and impulse buying- a timely coupon for the right thing can accelerate a purchase decision
- Price right but more importantly focus on creating a great customer shopping experience
- Smart up-selling based on history, plus a strong understanding of shopper expectations and preferences can yield great result
- Keep the shopper informed about product delivery timelines and status. Logistics and warehousing are going local, and some are even leveraging drone-based deliveries
- Reassure the shopper on warranty and quality of products/services
- Ensure there are “no-fuss” returns guaranteed to the shopper
OSG Dynamo™, our AI based big data analytics platform specifically drives a new 21st century vision for combining cognitive and behavioral ways to analyze data, improve the SNR (Signal to Noise Ratio) in marketing intelligence and deliver guidance to managers to take actions and deliver outcomes.
A retail customer of OSG delivered a $100M increase in revenue based on 3% increase in customer engagement whilst using OSG Dynamo. Its unique big data analytics platform marries both cognitive and behavioral data and drives analysis to deliver the right outcomes. We understand not only the what or the how, but also the why behind customer decisions, thus providing actionable insights. To conclude, we at OSG, think that tomorrow’s surveys will likely be increasingly verbal and recorded, as both structured and unstructured responses to Amazon Alexa and Echo would include recording of facial expressions, and Dynamo will drive a better understanding of how to help change customer behavior by bringing the “what” and “why” together for each customer. Technology helps observe customer behavior, the right triggers can help shape customer behavior!