Smarter Commerce - eCommerce for today’s customer and for you
eCommerce clearly holds the future with sales growth forecast to reach EUR 204.7 billion this year, marking a 15% growth compared to 2013 (source: eCommerce Europe, 2014). But what is that future going to look like? And how can you get the most out of eCommerce in that future? Smarter Commerce is the answer.
Today's customer is sharper than ever and knows how to find the price and product advantages at the sales points closest to home. And they use an increasing array of media and information sources to do it. Are you helping your customer find you? It doesn't matter whether they are looking to do business through direct contact, a webshop or on their mobile device: you have to know your customer and have all your touchpoints seamlessly aligned to get the most out of eCommerce.
Big data and analytics for real-time insights
eCommerce puts the customer in the driver's seat of all processes. That's no different than any traditional business model. But eCommerce focuses on the total customer experience, of which the actual purchase is only a part. With smart eCommerce applications relying on big data and analytics, you can leverage real-time insights to tailor the total eCommerce process to your customer better than ever before. Use of analytics opens up a whole new world of business processes to raise your purchasing, marketing, sales and service to the next level. And your profits along with them.
Just look what you can do in the world of eCommerce today
See What the World's Making Today.
Made with IBM video (00:01:01)
Smarter Commerce: A new way to look at procurement
A challenge for virtually every enterprise is staying constantly on top of inventory and sales channels. And when you have a lot of them, which makes the challenge even greater. One manufacturer of office supplies manages to maintain a grip on it all, even with dozens of production and distribution centers, hundreds of stores, its wholesale outlet and one very extensive webshop. Thanks to finely tuned Order Management software, this manufacturer is able to predict inventory demands right down to the last pen, regulate demand and coordinate distribution within the network. The result: an order fulfilment rate of nearly 100%.
What's the secret? Using all possible data – from purchase and distribution of goods and materials to data from vendor and partner platforms – as well as taking advantage of Supply Chain Visibility tools. These tools enable the decision-makers within the supply chain to coordinate the supply perfectly with the demand. This is what real eCommerce optimization looks like.
In today's business Supply Chain Management has to go much, much further than just the back end of an organization. A study by the IBM Institute for Business Value (IBV) of 650 Chief Procurement Officers has shown that an edge in procurement can mean a real competitive edge in the marketplace.
Marketing: Big data makes the message personal and relevant
You can make your communication even more personal and relevant to your customers with big data and analytics and coordinated omnichannel marketing. Like the way one global financial services provider is using big data and analytics to zoom in on its customers' needs and offer them real-time solutions to meet them.
Research into the ways customers use the internet, mobile devices, e-mail and social media when they buy helps a business make its customers the right offers through the right media. Offering real-time promotions through all channels becomes possible with cloud technology. And the effort pays off with higher response, conversion and sales figures.
Every business should be taking advantage of these – including yours. Today's marketers can approach customers more directly than ever before, with the best special offers for them, and immediately get a real understanding of their responses. And that is only becoming more important, as eCommerce moves more and more into the world of mobile devices like smartphones and tablets, that customers have on them 24/7.
The concept behind Shopping 2020 is simple:
“The most important thing is, we have extraordinary respect for customers.
We think people live busy lives and the world’s pretty complicated. So we wanna simplify things.”
Ron Johnson, former head of Apple Retail
Sales: Always close to the customer with the cloud
Success in eCommerce means being everywhere your target group is: both in webshops and on social media. One well-known retailer is succeeding in getting its products to the customer in real-time, all the time, wherever the customer is* – looking at a product review on Facebook, visiting a webshop or viewing a new collection on a mobile device. This is one thing the retailer is doing thanks to its cloud-based eCommerce platform.
*The IBM study entitled Capitalizing on the Smarter Consumer (US) revealed that 49% of consumers make use of at least two sales channels for every purchase.
Smart application of eCommerce also means giving the consumer extra benefits in the form of added services. Like seeing whether a product is in stock, registering a delivery address or selecting a collection point.
But these applications are not just for the consumer market: eCommerce solutions are being used more and more effectively in the business world too. In a B2B environment, companies can publish account-specific catalogs, compose customized prices for individual contracts, compile complex product configurations and synchronize processes for order handling. All thanks to the use of eCommerce software.
Service: Analytics critical for satisfied customers
For effective eCommerce, you need to see what the customer's need really is. Better yet, you need to be able to predict it. That's how to better play to the needs of your customers and keep them from switching to the competition. One regional telecom provider is using predictive analytics to do just that. With specialized software offering advanced data modelling features, the provider can make an individual assessment for each customer of the likelihood that customer will consider changing providers in the coming month. So customer service can approach the customers with a high risk proactively and make them the offer that will keep them on board.
Inventive eCommerce isn’t just about sales. It’s also an important tool for after-sales and account management. The customer insights that analytics give the Customer Service Managers help predict the services that customers want. All this dramatically simplifies aspects like installing products, synchronizing guarantees and handling return shipments. This enhances the customer experience throughout the entire eCommerce process. Because ultimately, the old adage still holds true: if you want to get ahead, you have to put the customer first!