To today’s customers, a company’s ability to market, sell, and serve through digital means is simply table stakes.
Businesses that don’t keep pace with those expectations risk becoming irrelevant. However, as many have experienced firsthand, pulling off beautiful digital commerce experiences is no simple feat. The better the customer experience, the more complex for the business. The more seamlessly an experience works on the front end, the more intricate it is on the back end.
While translating a digital strategy into revenue and profit growth requires collaboration across the C-suite, marketers are frequently in the driver’s seat of digital commerce initiatives.
Here are a few fundamental changes marketers can make to help their organizations tackle the more complex aspects of creating digital commerce strategies that generate growth:
Invest In Analytics Talent To Build Personalized Experiences
Personalization is paramount to building customer loyalty in the digital age, yet 60% of companies say they are missing personalized customer experiences. Why?
The bottom line is that businesses lack a deep enough understanding of their customers to know how to effectively tailor the customer experience. Many companies lack the tools and operational personnel to collect, correlate, and analyze data to make decisions. Leading companies are building internal analytics teams to drive better insights into customer behavior as well as product performance, marketing effectiveness, segmentation, and pricing.
Partner With IT
The relationship between the CMO and CIO is one of the most critical to digital commerce’s success. The right technical foundation can make or break the customer experience.
Many IT organizations have been sluggish in reacting to the digital channel. Delays are caused by antiquated organizational models and governance processes, inflexible architectures, technical debt, and insufficient focus on the customer. This inability to move and expand is crippling enterprises during a time when digital commerce demands frequent updates to code without disrupting the customer experience.
Enterprises need to move beyond reliability and also focus on responsive and high velocity delivery so that they can better sense and respond to changing market and customer expectations. Forward-thinking IT departments are evolving to align more closely with the business, and at the same time marketers are more involved in technical decisions than ever before. Marketers need to be active partners with their IT counterparts to get the technical foundation right.
Disrupt To Keep Up
Marketers have a responsibility to push their organizations to constantly rethink their businesses and imagine new ones before competitors do. Emerging technologies are flooding the marketplace, disruptors have access to these powerful technologies, and customers will share their wallets with whomever can deliver the latest and greatest products and services.
Never before has a dedication to innovation been more important for businesses that want to continue to grow. Yet according to our recent Digital IQ data, only 1% of executives said their number one expectation of digital was to disrupt their own or other industries. Inching forward with incremental improvements won’t satisfy today’s insatiable, highly informed consumers and generate the record-breaking revenue gains that create distance from the pack. Businesses must be willing to go big with breakthrough ideas that inspire customer loyalty.
Consider Compliance As A First Thought
Compliance can often be an afterthought when it should be part of the initial planning. Compliance matters, such as domestic and international regulatory requirements or tax rates, can have a dramatic impact on operations and can alter the course of a strategic road map.
Doubling back to correct a compliance oversight can cause costly delays. For example, one company we worked with had to change markets completely because the tax rate was too high to justify entry into the market. The wide-ranging reach of digital requires that businesses tap experts with a breadth and depth of experience that spans not only technology and strategy, but operations and tax as well.
Put Mobile On The Corporate Mantel
Mobile commerce has risen, and marketers cannot overlook it. For example, by 2018, global mobile e-commerce is forecasted to reach 21% of total e-commerce, up from 5.6% in 2011, according to Morgan Stanley research. For the United States, m-commerce's penetration is expected to hit 35.4%, up from 5.6% in 2011.
Leading companies realize that mobile is more than creating a mobile app. Mobile is about adapting to shifting customer behaviors and expectations. Marketers need to ensure business strategies, not just marketing strategies, reflect this reality.
At the heart of the matter, digital commerce is about customer trust. A lot must happen behind the scenes to inspire confidence in customers at every turn. From the back end to the front end, companies must live and breathe digital and walk and talk a brand promise that meets each customer’s unique wants and needs.