Customer Experiences: Creating, nurturing and strengthening defines businesses. Mobile and social have increased the number and the frequency of touch points of customer engagement. Chandar Pattabhiram, Marketo CMO, quite nicely calls it Engagement Economy. Some branded manufacturers have discovered that the value of directly engaging with their clients and have been aggressively selling directly to them (DTC) through an Omni-channel strategy in addition to the traditional business partners.
This shift represents not only a huge change in the business strategy for manufacturers but also a significant shift in the technology needed to capture and capitalize on the available data. Manufacturers must consider not only their B2B but also their B2C eCommerce investments.
Focus on Customer Experience
The customer experience has taken a central role and has become key to differentiating from the competition. Branded manufacturers need to focus on how they interact with the consumers, experiment frequently and fail fast.
Until recently, organizations had an exclusive control over the information flow and the brand image they portrayed. The proliferation of mobile and social channels have placed this power into the hands of consumers. Learning from fellow consumer’s experiences consumers engage or disconnect with brands.
Consumers have come to control the information flow, influence pricing strategies (by checking out and comparing the prices of different retailers) and, to an extent, they have become immune to advertising because they seek out a two-way value driven interaction with the brand instead of passively consuming marketing information.
Consumers have come to control the information flow
Moving up from the point of sales to becoming part of the lifestyle
Manufacturers need to learn how to establish and foster a direct relationship with their consumers, increase brand awareness and brand loyalty.
Dollar Shave Club perfected the art of owning their customer relationships when they launched (and subsequently sold for about a billion USD to Unilever). David Pakman, a partner at Venrock and an early investor at Dollar Shave Club, said, the key is how Dollar Shave Club developed relationships with men, many itching to find an alternative to the high-priced blades sold by Gillette and Schick. I am a Dollar Shave Club member myself and love their ads. The best part of their service is that each delivery comes with some slick witty humor, called the “Bathroom minutes” that makes you fall in love with the brand.
Manufacturers should consider investing in building a relationship directly with the consumers by moving up from the point of sales to becoming part of their lifestyle. In some case, this could come by acquiring complementary technologies. Under Armour acquired MapMyFitness in November 2013. During that time MapMyFitness had 20 million registered users and it seamlessly integrated with more than 400 fitness tracking devices. Now, as I go for a run and switch on the app, I receive personalized notifications of Under Armour Apparel and Shoes.
establish and foster a direct relationship with your consumers
Product is the core in a B2C commerce ecosystem
As you know your customer’s experiences, their interaction with your products, you Know your Data and you use the data to grow your business.
The product is the core in a Commerce ecosystem and is enabled by four pillars:
- Commerce management – represented by the shopping cart; it manages pricing, transactions and promotions, up-sells, cross-sells and product recommendations;
- Experience management – deals with A/B testing and optimization, personalization, mobile and tablet delivery, the interactive digital store experience, and marketing campaigns;
- Product Information Management – manages product taxonomies, relationships, attributes, data quality, digital assets, data governance, supplier information and data syndication;
- Order Management – inventory management, tax and fraud management, shipping and returns policies that run smoothly and quickly;
product is the core in a Commerce ecosystem
You need a Best of Breed PIM to manage your Product data
Certain “all-inclusive” technologies that serve all the four building pillars of the Commerce product cannot handle the complexities of gathering and managing product data from manufacturers. Some manufacturers have very complex products descriptions with many attributes, while others need to sell slightly different products to multiple regions. A best of breed PIM solution takes product data from various sources (data pools, supplier information) internal systems (ERP, manufacturing systems) data aggregators and GDSN, moves it upstream, cleans it and brings the product to life with additional layers of interactive content (product videos, holistic views) to make it customer-focused and ready for eCommerce, mobile, in-store, print or third party syndication.
image credit: @worthyofelefgance, @christoffere, @mzemlickis