July 3, 2013 | Written by: Christophe Palaysi
Categorized: Customer Analytics
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Christophe Palaysi is a Solution Architect at IBM. Read on to find out about his experiences and insights from this year’s Smarter Commerce Global Summit 2013 in Monaco.
At this year’s Smarter Commerce Global Summit in Monaco, I was based in the Solutions Centre of the fantastic Grimaldi Forum, showcasing a digitalised version of ‘a day in the life of Lily’. Lily is a 29 year old young professional and social media addict – a true modern consumer. The role of the demo was to showcase just some of the ways brands and retail chains can adapt to the changing consumer in our modern, digital environment.
This year’s Summit was centered on the strapline ‘Your customer in context’. Taking our customers through a day in the life of Lily was a simple yet effective way to help businesses think about what their customer wants on a personalised level – and how they can prepare to react to those demands and expectations.
Ultimately, if a brand knows what a customer is looking for, it is far easier to have a viable interaction with that prospective consumer. By using readily available data, a company may capture and analyse comments made on blogs, Facebook, Twitter or other forms of social media to identify opportunities for a sale. This ability to sense, react and even reply to customer interactions to provide relevant offers can give businesses a cutting edge in a competitive marketplace.
Today’s customers expect a personalised experience. And thanks to modern technologies, nowadays companies can do anything from alerting a customer when they are in proximity to a store, to bringing up information about products and purchase capability on a mobile phone or even sharing customer buying histories with sales assistants, to make enable them to provide a personalised service experience. The opportunities and insights available to help businesses create tailored marketing opportunities are vast.
I had some very interesting conversations with delegates at the Summit discussing the opportunities and challenges faced in bringing together the key pillars of Smarter Commerce (Buy, Market, Sell and Service) into a single view. Depending on their business and the customer data they have available to them, the delegates have different starting points. The banks already have a good understanding of their customers but they can look to combine this data with social media insight in order to propose specific offers in a timely manner. The telecommunications operators have a deep knowledge on their subscribers’ consumption profiles and can easily reach them, but their challenge is provide a service that reduces customer churn and retains subscribers. The retailers know less about their customers, but clearly know what and when the goods are sold – the challenge for them is to connect the dots. What is clear is that regardless of their business type or industry, companies must work to bring their customer insights into a single view and to action this data across the entire value chain.
However, it is important to note that for a business to truly benefit from the Smarter Commerce proposition it is not just the systems which need to evolve; management must evolve in tandem. Businesses often suffer from siloed ways of working – with different collections of data owned by isolated departments. I believe that the sharing of information and data freely within an organisation is an essential step towards providing personalised customer experiences.
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