June 24, 2020
Recent shifts have substantially accelerated some of the consumer trends that have started a while ago. New behaviors are being tracked across category consumption, channel selection, shopper trip frequency, brand preference and media consumption.
Customers are expecting a simple, seamless and pleasant experience.
These changes are already strongly impacting consumer-goods companies and their ecosystem partnerships. They are facing a major disruption in speed and scale that influence the further development of their operating models. Every contact and step counts, whether this is on or off- line.
A friend told me a story the other day about her new digital shopping experience
An attractive, limited time offer of 40% discount convinced her to purchase the new running shoes. She opted-in to buy online, pick up in-store options. During pick up at the store she tried her new shoes on and realized they were a number too big. So, she wanted to swap them on site for a smaller number, since the retailer had them on the stock.
Imagine her surprise when she learned this is not possible. To “solve the problem “she was advised to return the product via regular post, at her own expense, and repurchase the number smaller running shoes online (the price promotion was already off). Needless to say, how the story concluded.
Modern businesses need to adapt if they want to stand out from today's noise
Companies are making bold changes to capture revenue quickly and stabilize their business. They will need to continue to push beyond the way things have been done in the past, but first, they must cement the positive changes they have already made. They need to learn what works and what doesn’t. “Agile” does not just mean putting test-and-learn practices in place. Agility is putting in place a new operating model built around the customer that is supported by the right processes and governance.
Companies and brands need to understand their customer preferences and habits to better meet ever-evolving customer expectations. They need to build trust by providing value first and become a reliable partner in the transaction process. Improve activation for new and existing customers to win and remain relevant.
After the situation calms down, retailers will need to rethink how to attract customers back to traditional brick-and-mortar stores; how to incentivize them? Retailers must, therefore, think about potential omnichannel integration, and consider how to add new value, shape a seamless and pleasant experience while managing these new expectations.
Omnichannel personalization requires companies to rethink their organizational structure, capabilities and incentives across the digital and physical parts of the business
Customers are becoming more comfortable with virtual platforms. Traditional independent operations of digital and physical channels, each with its strategy, goals, and ownership of the results seem outdated. The shift can only happen when incentives are aligned with outcomes and measurements applied across online and in-store channels.
Developing a complete omnichannel personalization from scratch is a challenge. As time is of the importance, companies should start small, with the highest-value use cases and building on existing touchpoints. Create a distinctive customer experience, prove customer value, and build further from there while the lines between the digital and physical continue to blend.
And imagine the store of the future...
… where intimate knowledge from past behavior and choices is used for the creation of personalized approach, customer adapted interaction, and development of customer propriety products influencing “more likely to buy” consumers don't always know what they're looking for before they enter a store,
but they do know when they are being treated as a valued customer.
… where everything is automated and interactive so consumers can shop everywhere, they go using their phones … and retailers can anticipate, sense, and interact with customers everywhere they go — inside and outside of the store.
... where shopping is centered around the experience … underpinned by technology and exciting for consumers to stick around, where they can explore showrooms for product information, where they can interact with products and brand experts.
… where the platform is fully flexible around personalization and promotion, dynamic on return policies to ease and simplify the shopping experience … where asset management meets commerce through measured innovation effectiveness.
Yes, progress is linked to generating customer engagement and positive customer experiences with the support of technology. Though we should not forget the people aspect. People can positively influence decisions and guide personal interactions. People on site are a critical element when dealing with unpredictable situations occurring on the spot. Kindness, personal motivation, and genuine customer support can also deliver miracles in changing perceptions and can influence customer loyalty.
Helena Mah is a senior executive who takes a vision and makes it a reality. She intuitively understands the threads of opportunity through an organization and brings them together into a coherent strategy. In her 20 years long international career Helena inspired action and empowered individuals to unlock their potential and innovate to accelerate growth. Respected as a credible voice in decision making, establishing strategic partnerships and flexible while adjusting to changing priorities, Helena is a true team member.
Currently, as a Management and Business Consultant Helena is supporting international and ambitious companies in a definition of their Business and Commercial strategy for higher impact, supporting organizational evolution while enabling innovation and customer value, spearheading major strategic transformations through digitalization and technology adoption.
Her main managerial focus is strategic development, sales, and marketing, while she also has a rich experience with change management in organizations. Previously Helena was a member of management teams in international companies. As VP Transformation for Celtra, she defined company-wise Enterprise strategy, set up the operational frame and thus tripled the number of clients and platform usage. In her regional CMO role for Microsoft, she transformed the Marketing function into a revenue-generating engine. With an innovative digital marketing approach, she helped to increase the company’s value and customer offering. Under her leadership Marketing became a valued internal partner and seen as a growth driver. During her time at Tušmobil as Chief Marketing Officer, she managed to raise company equity value and strengthen market share before the targeted acquisition, while transforming the marketing function into a commercially driven organization. Before that, when she took over a General Manager role in GfK, she managed a Regional Market Intelligence new business growth, improved company performance by 46% during the recession and achieved positive operational results after several negative years while strengthening leading regional share.
Helena is an active member of several managers associations and contributing to the assemblies linked to technology, digitalization, and AI.
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