A call to action aka “Buy Now” button is not enough to succeed in e-commerce retailing

A call to action aka “Buy Now” button is not enough to succeed in e-commerce retailing

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!

OSG Steps to Success

OSG is a “catalyst” that helps our clients be the best at decoding their customers’ decisions. Our clients have seen a minimum 20% improvement in customer engagement by implementing smart insights delivered using our behavioral analytics products.

6 Steps to Build a Customer-Obsessed Business – Enabling All Employees for a Customer-Centric World

6 Steps to Build a Customer-Obsessed Business – Enabling All Employees for a Customer-Centric World

The mantra at all organizations today is to be ‘customer-centric’, and most are getting better at it. However, they do miss out on building deeper, longer and more meaningful relationships, as they provide the same experiences as everyone else. It is therefore important to cross the barrier to the next step – ‘customer obsession’.

 

Customer obsession is currently in danger of becoming a buzzword. While a business may think and care about its customers, it needs to delve deeper to be called customer-obsessed. We are in ‘The Age of the Customer’- where buyers have heightened access to product information and greater expectations on what a product should deliver. They have multiple avenues to make buying decisions such as independent research, conversations with friends, online review sites etc. While buying behavior was previously considered predictable and linear, these factors make customer buying patterns now appear “random”. But truly customer-obsessed businesses know that is not the case. Organizations need to be better prepared to be able to ‘WOW’ their customers and this can only happen if they focus on building a customer-obsessed culture.

So, what do customer-obsessed companies do, not just in certain departments, but across the entire organization? Here are the 6 things we identified:

Incorporate customer obsession in company values

Organizations should learn to include customer focus in their mission statement, and take actions consistently to make this a habit. Jeff Bezos, CEO at Amazon, regularly leaves a chair empty in meeting rooms to represent the customer. This serves as a constant reinforcement for employees to remember who the most important person in the room is.

Customer satisfaction above all

Businesses should identify customer satisfaction as one of their key metrics, so that employees can be motivated to put customers first. At All-Hands Meetings, CSAT scores should be announced before revenues, and customer feedback should be shared with everyone. This makes every employee aware of the tangible customer experiences they are helping create, and the monetary impact associated with it. Therefore, a sense of responsibility is created across the organization where every employee believes in the power of experiences.

Define what customer obsession means to every employee

Within each organization, customer obsession can mean different things across different functions. While the CSAT team may interpret customer obsession one way, the sales, marketing, delivery and other teams may interpret it some other way. Organizations should standardize and clearly define what customer obsession means to each of these functions to create customer-focused employees. An awareness of the correlation between obsession and revenues should be clearly defined too.

Reward employees who deliver outstanding CX

Instead of putting the onus on leadership for creating memorable customer experiences, businesses should learn to make customer obsession an organizational initiative. It is important to reward employees who go above and beyond with their customer commitment. Organizations like American Express even give employees financial bonuses based on customer feedback.

Measure churn rate and customer lifetime value

It shouldn’t be surprising, but customer satisfaction reflects in company revenues. A happy customer will interact with your brand repetitively without looking at your competitors. Their positive opinions about your brand will affect metrics like repeated transactions, customer lifetime value and churn rate. Organizations should share these numbers with employees to motivate them to increase sales numbers. Make this an internal challenge or goal for everyone to chase and watch your employees move the needle!

Employ technology platforms to manage and interpret data

Customer-obsessed companies know that data is the fuel that drives unique customer experiences. But all companies have data. How you manage, enrich and govern this data is the differentiator. Data mostly exists in silos across functions, and it’s important to break those silos to get a 360° customer profile. A technology platform that enables organizations to extract data from silos and interpret it to provide deeper insights is crucial on your journey towards customer-obsession.

So, how can OSG help your organization move towards customer-centricity?

o360 OSG  is an important tool on your customer-obsession voyage. Powered by Dynamo, our AI-based big data platform that can collate, manage and interpret customer data, o360  helps you understand what behavioral triggers can help customers stay motivated and engaged with your products. It can measure customer expectations and feedback to design personalized experiences that ensure your customers stay loyal and engaged, thereby reducing churn and increasing customer retention. With Illuminate, you can even design loyalty programs that guarantee engaged customers and generate increased revenue.

We hope this information has been interesting and valuable to you. Please, feel free to share it with colleagues and other people in your network. We welcome discussing this topic further with you and understanding your specific challenges.

OSG Steps to Success

OSG is a “catalyst” that helps our clients be the best at decoding their customers’ decisions. Our clients have seen a minimum 20% improvement in customer engagement by implementing smart insights delivered using our behavioral analytics products.

Brand positioning is dead

Brand positioning is dead

Pharmaceutical marketing is routed in claims and evidence and to some extent, this has led to communication being focussed on messaging of these claims and evidences. This is not to say that the concept of brand positioning has been ignored by leading pharmaceutical marketers, and many are familiar with the development and testing of positioning statements.

However, many marketers and planners are predicting the death of brand positioning as relationships with customers become more fluid and fast moving. With some market estimates citing around two-thirds of drug launches failing to meet first year expectations, is it time that brand strategy is turned on its head and the concept of brand positioning is well and truly buried.

Before we write off the merits of brand positioning, we need to challenge if its key principals have been effectively implemented across the pharmaceutical industry. In other verticals, we can cite many successful brands with clear and consistent brand positioning e.g. Nike, Red Bull, Zara, L’Oréal. Do you think these marketing departments are moving away from brand positioning?

As the future market landscape becomes more cluttered, a consistent, distinctive, motivating and compelling positioning becomes even more important. However, the route to developing this needs to change. The danger has been that to some extent, products have been gift wrapped, or the marketing team has “added on” the big idea as companies reach the clinical trial finishing line. The goal to develop a positioning statement as the tangible result of successful brand planning has, to some extent, clouded the issue.

Successful brand positioning is more than a statement and can cover the job of brand, promise, core insight and the brand personality. As creating an experience for the customer and creating compelling brand stories rather than selling a service and/or product become even more important, brand positioning plays an important foundational role.

However, creating a strong positioning platform is not without challenges and testing positioning statements and TPPs will provide only one part of the answer.

OSG Dynamo™combines multiple research methodologies and data sources e.g. competitive intelligence, social listening, KOL interviews, co-creations sessions to help build and shape the future customer journey. We then work with the client team to build a strong proposition and start to weave a compelling story and related experience along this journey.

We hope this information has been interesting and valuable to you. Please, feel free to share it with colleagues and other people in your network. We welcome discussing this topic further with you and understanding your specific challenges.

 

OSG Steps to Success

OSG is a “catalyst” that helps our clients be the best at decoding their customers’ decisions. Our clients have seen a minimum 20% improvement in customer engagement by implementing smart insights delivered using our behavioral analytics products.

Optimizing Sales and Generating Profit for Your Product – Augmenting your Pricing Strategy with Behavioral Analytics

Optimizing Sales and Generating Profit for Your Product – Augmenting your Pricing Strategy with Behavioral Analytics

Every product marketer will emphasize how crucial pricing is while launching a product. But organizations often struggle at determining the exact price point – how much should a product’s price be? Charge too much and it won’t sell. Charge too little and you forgo revenues and profits.

 

Charging a product at a higher price is still an easily fixable problem – just dropping the price will increase uptake. The bigger challenge is when a product is priced less than its value. In addition to losses in revenues, the product’s market value drops significantly too. Companies have realized time and again how difficult it is to raise costs once products hit the shelves. According to industry reports, a staggering 80-90% of all poorly chosen product prices are lower than their estimated value.

One of the first makers of portable barcode readers faced this challenge by pricing their product at a proportionally higher price to the older, stationary readers. By using an existing product as a reference point, the company unfortunately undervalued a potentially revolutionary product. This portable reader was responsible not just for improving existing processes, but also enabled organizations to redesign their supply chains by controlling real-time inventory, improving logistics planning and just-in-time deliveries, thus eliminating the need for large inventories. Before long, buyers, recognizing a bargain deal, flocked to buy the portable readers which erased approximately 1 billion USD of potential profits for the company – a pricing nightmare that every organization wants to avoid.

To navigate these pitfalls, most companies tend to implement one of the below strategies for new product pricing:

Skimming Pricing
In this scenario, a company sets an initial high price for their product or service. The goal is to “skim” the market for customers who’ll spend more instead of focusing on increasing market share. This pricing method works better for companies willing to place money on product promotion and brand development to be successful.

Penetration Pricing
This strategy involves setting a low initial price for your product. The ultimate goal is to quickly gain a large portion of market share. This method is ideal for products that have mass appeal and which can achieve economies of scale with more production.

However, both these methods don’t take an important factor into account – customer behavior. With the advance of social media and the proliferation of devices, platforms and applications, customers are more informed about product and price comparisons than ever before. Companies should realize that customer views on prices, features and benefits play a huge role in their willingness to pay for a product. Therefore, marketing practices and company strategies need to be altered to accommodate customer behavior. To truly understand customer willingness to pay and thereby improve sales and profits, behavioral analytics needs to be brought into play.

Behavioral analytics interprets current customer choice patterns to determine future behavior. With trade-off methodologies implemented to decipher how customers react to certain price points, insight can be gained into future product pricing decisions. Essential changes in product features and benefits can also be made, so the product is more valuable, and customers are willing to pay a premium price. Organizations however should be careful in choosing the right behavioral analytics platform – one that doesn’t provide quality actionable insights for implementation or remedy is not a good bet.

So, how can OSG help you come up with the optimal product price point?

At OSG, we want to ensure that you enhance customer satisfaction and simultaneously price your products at the ideal value to boost sales and generate profit. ASEMAP will be an important tool on this journey. ASEMAP is powered by OSG Dynamo™, our proprietary behavioral analytics platform and combined with Adaptive Choice Based Conjoint (CBC) analysis to identify customers’ willingness to pay. ASEMAP™ allows you to identify which features are most important to customers and by how much. With CBC, customers can choose their preferred price point bundled with the best product features according to them. In addition, OSG Dynamo™ also provides users with a Pricing Simulator to compare price sensitivities. You can easily conduct an ad hoc analysis to change pricing schemes and determine how different prices will impact product uptake.

OSG recently enabled a medical device manufacturer to optimize the price of their catheters and drive profitability. With ASEMAP™, price points, brands and rebates were analyzed to determine customer preferences for different price points. By combining this analysis with secondary research, the manufacturer was enabled to determine volume and market share impact for each price point. By comparing all parameters for the client brand vs. competing brands with ASEMAP™ we were able to justify approximately 25% price increase for catheters to improve sales and profitability. With OSG Dynamo™, you can edge out competition and generate the ideal price your product deserves.

For more information on OSG Dynamo™ click here.

 

OSG Steps to Success

OSG is a “catalyst” that helps our clients be the best at decoding their customers’ decisions. Our clients have seen a minimum 20% improvement in customer engagement by implementing smart insights delivered using our behavioral analytics products.

The Importance of Brand Equity – How to Create Lasting Value for Your Company

The Importance of Brand Equity – How to Create Lasting Value for Your Company

Building a successful business requires the interplay of several critical elements like planning, financial management, marketing, customer service, sales and estimation among others. However, many businesses forget the impact that brand equity has on organizational success and your bottom line. So, what exactly is (or isn’t) brand equity?

 

In the 1990s, branding guru David Aaker coined brand equity as “A set of assets and liabilities linked to a brand, its name and symbol, that adds to or subtracts from the value provided by a product or service…”. And this is a definition that still holds up currently.

Brand equity covers several aspects such as:

  • Client perception and how that perception affects your organization (from interactions to purchase and reviews)
  • Your organizational sales and revenue
  • Your brand awareness in the market at large

However, due to its complex terminology, there is confusion sometimes on what exactly brand equity is and isn’t. For example, brand equity is not the same as:

  • Market equity, which is the actual value of your assets
  • Shopping experiences, which is only one aspect of your brand
  • Business outcomes, and the means to accomplish said outcomes

In other words, brand equity is the value of the brand you have created. Take the case of reputed conglomerates that sell handbags at nearly 20 times the cost of manufacturing them. Oliver Cabell, a travel and leather goods manufacturer makes bags that cost approximately $80 to manufacture, but which are sold at a retail price of a whopping $970. All because the brand name dictates the product price and not the product itself. Now, that’s powerful brand equity for you!

The Importance of Investing in Brand Equity

Brand equity can help in generating tremendous value for your organization. While there are many benefits to investing in your brand equity, some of them are listed below:

  • Customer Loyalty and Retention

Customer purchase patterns are deeply linked to how they feel about brands. A strong, positive brand with a proven track record can help in driving loyalty and retention in customers. Enhanced loyalty minimizes churn, which increases market share, which further establishes you as a brand with higher equity. This in turn leads to stronger and deeper customer relationships – a constant, positive cycle.

Premium Pricing on Products

The stronger the brand equity, the higher the price that your product can demand. People are more than willing to invest tens of thousands of dollars on Cartier watches, Louis Vuitton bags and other luxury brands because those companies are great at enhancing customer perception, which reflects on purchases and product reviews.

Larger Margins

A strong brand equity helps achieve larger margins, primarily because the customer becomes less price conscious with a reputed brand. This results in more cost-effective marketing due to increased awareness and loyalty to your brand. Simultaneously, this also strengthens your brand’s sales and competitive positioning due to the positive customer perception you’re building. All this leads to higher margins.

Brand Extensions

As your customers already know you as a credible and reputed brand in the market, it becomes relatively easier to branch out into related lines of business as well. With strong brand equity, you can stave off price battles with competitors and not be burdened with the disadvantage of being a new player.

Ultimately, how your brand is perceived today will affect how and who you’ll be doing business with tomorrow. By measuring it, you’ll be able to build deeper relationships with existing customers, connect with new ones and contribute to a healthy bottom line in turn. This will help you create lasting value for your business.

With our cutting-edge behavioral analytics and big data technology, we help you measure and significantly improve brand equity with OSG’s Dynamo. With more than 10 years of experience in understanding human behavior for Fortune500 clients, we are uniquely positioned to interpret and quantify your brand equity. Our behavioral science experts can incorporate live data feeds and utilize machine learning to produce models and live dashboards to accurately measure brand equity. Write to us at website@osganalytics.com to find out what Illuminate can do for your business.

OSG Steps to Success

OSG is a “catalyst” that helps our clients be the best at decoding their customers’ decisions. Our clients have seen a minimum 20% improvement in customer engagement by implementing smart insights delivered using our behavioral analytics products.

Going Beyond Customer Satisfaction – Creating the Ultimate Future Journey Map

Going Beyond Customer Satisfaction – Creating the Ultimate Future Journey Map

Organizations have been working towards customer centricity for a while now, to create great experiences for their customers and in turn grow in revenue and reputation. Customer experience (CX) and satisfaction however, is a constantly evolving entity. Therefore, CX driven organizations may fail to innovate sometimes because there is a lack of discipline in the process and focus – both of which are essential for consistent ideation.

 

In addition, a lot of CX focused organizations conceptualizing customer journey mapping tend to concentrate on existing customer journeys. They spend effort and capital identifying and fixing problems in the current purchase/task driven processes rather than creating new experiences for customers altogether. By creating new customer experiences, you can unlock novel areas for customer value, create new offerings and envision future customer journeys in the process.

According to a leading CX Index report, the overall quality of experiences that organizations deliver to customers has significantly improved. As a matter of fact, each of the nine industries that the study targeted showed gains since 2007, when the research began. While this is a boom for customers who no longer need to deal with negative experiences, the pressure on organizations to deliver exceptional experiences has rocketed. There is immense competition to seek differentiation through experiences. The future mapping of customer journeys can be your potential differentiator over competition.

Mapping a Future-Looking Customer Journey

Creating new experiences can seem like a spontaneous or stimulating process, but the key to creating a robust future journey map is meticulous planning. Listed below are some steps to give direction to your strategy:

  • Define scope and recruit participants

Firstly, define what your end business goal is and identify your target customers and journey. Build a team of strategists, analysts, customers and other innovators who can help you think differently and bring various perspectives to the table.

  • Review existing journey and scope for ideation

Identify the gaps in your existing customer journey to categorize where you can provide differentiation and quality experiences for your customers. Work on an ideation framework that will benefit your customers. At this stage, trial participants should be familiarized with the framework to determine whether the journey map works or needs to be altered. Always welcome questions and critique, as it will add depth and dimension to your roadmap.
Identify top ideas

At this stage, multiple top criteria should be evaluated after consulting with your participants. To get a true sense of what works and doesn’t work for your customers, a powerful behavioral analytics platform will be a definite advantage. The platform you choose should be able to effectively compare different attributes/criteria and determine which ones work as part of the future journey map. By employing a behavioral analytics engine, you can gain tangible proof on your customers’ expectations and work towards bridging any gap they encounter.

Map the journey and build a roadmap for uptake
Here, you can define an engaging future-state plan and secure buy-in. After validating the plan with your trial customers, a gap analysis can be done to identify projects, resources, costs etc. A long-term roadmap can be created on how to reach your business goals systematically. Once the roadmap is built, inform your key stakeholders and begin the process of the future-looking journey map for your customers.

How can OSG contribute on this journey?
At OSG, we are focused on creating experiences that help you understand your customers’ expectations better. Our AI-based, big data analytics platform, OSG Dynamo can be a trusted partner on your journey towards customer-centricity. With its inbuilt behavioral analytics engine, Dynamo employs a unique trade-off methodology to let users prioritize which attributes/ideas are most crucial in your future-looking customer journey mapping. By leveraging the actionable insights that Dynamo provides, you can create a robust future-looking journey map for your customers that anticipates their needs.

Employ Dynamo in your future-looking customer journey mapping to edge out competition. To find out more about Dynamo, write to us at website@osganalytics.com

OSG Steps to Success

OSG is a “catalyst” that helps our clients be the best at decoding their customers’ decisions. Our clients have seen a minimum 20% improvement in customer engagement by implementing smart insights delivered using our behavioral analytics products.