August 16, 2017 | Written by: Gowri Arun
Categorized: Digital Reinvention
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Digitization is rapidly changing the nature of how individuals and organizations interact: the result is an individual-centered economy. Individuals are more connected and empowered, leading to rising expectations about information access, ubiquitous connectivity and transparency. The ability to stay connected through a variety of devices has increased consumer influence over organizations and drives a consumer-centric business strategy. Competition is coming from new and different areas, opening up opportunities for previously unforeseen entrants – and simultaneously creating new threats. Organizations are adapting innovative business models and using newly found digital capabilities to enable original consumer experiences. Organizations are embracing Digital transformation to create compelling customer experiences. For instance, for one of our client, a large Indian business conglomerate, we created an omni-channel transformation effort for a compelling user experience, by creating a model where digital met physical. Customers do not change their expectations of digital as they move from site to site or app to app, so if one cannot provide what they want on the right device at the right time, they will very quickly look elsewhere. A seamless experience across channels and customer touch point was provided to customers, both B2B and B2C, in whatever channel, they chose. A variety of customer touch points were covered including kiosks, websites, mobile sites and apps, call-center, field personnel’s, dealers and service agents and social commerce.
However, Customer experience is not limited to just the user interface or the user experience. The brand story is ever important. Digital transformation helps engage with customers to drive a customer-centric business strategy. As in the case of the large Indian business conglomerate, with a combination of channels, commerce, design and content, the transformation helped provide a seamless experience across the Physical and Digital world and helped build complementing online business formats aligned with offline formats.
One of our client, a contract garment manufacturer, embarked on a new business model leveraging Digital transformation. Applying design thinking methodology to understand customer need and focus on what matters to consumers, The garment manufacturer was able to create markets in the B2C space. It identified a growing market in online furnishing and fashion. The value proposition was personalized design in any furnishing and fabric of choice, thereby meeting an unmet need of consumers. By integrating commerce platform, with social outreach and customer segmentation, they were quickly able to serve contextualized and personalized messages to help customers get a feel that the organization is tailor made to suit their needs. The approach had a strong emphasis on design and marketing, combined with the ability to listen to customers to create relevant and customized experiences. The transformation helped create value for customers rather than value from customers.
Also, customers are not just measuring their experience by the competitors in one sector but are benchmarking against the most engaging, interesting experiences in every sector. The other dimension of Digital transformation is its ability to redesign business models, setting new benchmarks for customer experience and thereby setting new standards for the entire industry. Businesses are leveraging technology to address unmet customer needs and are redesigning whole markets and disrupting the status quo. Our client, an online fashion retailer did just that. It transformed its ecommerce platform, which was mainly positioned as transaction platform by many of its competitors into an engagement platform by leveraging technology. In this way, it not only met an unmet need of its customers but also set new direction by redesigning the business model. It provided a competitive differentiation and redefined business by moving away from the three main revenue challenges faced by its peers in the industry. With a fashion curated Cognitive solution, the possibilities are endless. For instance, a customer can search using natural language, she need not browse through tons of products, and a five step process to even start browsing. She can simply ‘Ask’ as she would at a physical outlet. She can show what she wants and get similar products, in a colour of her choice and in a price range of her desire. She can have a virtual trial. Furthermore, she can complete her look by asking for relevant accessories thus providing a complete in-store experience in an online medium.
When companies respond to digitation assertively across multiple dimensions, they improve their performance. As in the case of the large Indian business conglomerate, while cross-channel personalization and experience was perhaps the most tangible part of the transformation, streamlining backend processes, imparting the culture of agile and digital across functions, were equally important and all the transformation efforts happened in parallel. More so, when the organization is a 100+ years with a strong lineage. An integrated effort on digitizing both the front end and the operations helped improve customer experience.
Digital transformation is also about its ability to bring in operational efficiency. One of our clients, a franchisee with multi brand retail and F&B clients wanted to find high potential locations for its physical retail stores. By taking advantage of intelligent, responsive processes that decreases human intervention, a ‘site intelligence solution’ was devised. A mobile solution on cloud helped draw a retail expansion blue-print by tracking high market potential areas using maps, customer footfalls, demographic information, economic information by way of mapping competition presence and other surrogate brand presence. This helped the client discover potential areas, analyze using demographic and economic indicators that finally decide, on locations to place its retail outlet.
The writing is on the wall. No business can afford to not embark on the Digital journey. Digital is truly transforming business models, creating experiences, transforming customers to consumers, like never before and disrupting businesses that one cannot afford to ignore.
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