Digital technologies are transforming the way we shop. E-commerce and smartphones have raised the expectation consumers have about their shopping experience. One of those expectations is around personalization. Amazon knows what brands I buy, what type of product I’m searching for, what special events I have in my life, what types of new products I might find interesting, and many other things. This allows Amazon to create a very personalized experience for me as a shopper. Product recommendations and deals often resonate very well with me, and encourage me to make a purchase.
Did you know that *over $272,000 is spent online every minute and **72% of people are influenced socially through ratings, reviews and recommendations? Shopping behavior has changed significantly due to the multitude of online channels with information that is easily accessible to consumers to help make smart purchase decisions. Traditionally purchase decisions were influenced through advertisements and promotions directly from the brand owner or retailer. This trend is changing significantly and today’s shoppers increasingly leverage information from multiple online channels provided through mobile devices and social networks to enrich their shopping experience.
We’ve talked a lot about how the retail industry is going through a transformation in this blog. The consumer, and their desire to make informed purchase decisions are driving most of this change. As retailers begin to adapt to the connected consumer, many of their systems will begin to change in order to support the experience the consumer is demanding. The one system change that will likely take the lead in this change is the Point of Sale (POS).
Retail stores are doing everything they can to entice consumers to visit their location, and forego shopping online. The theory is that a superb in-store experience, combined with instant fulfillment, will make even the savviest connected consumer spend more time and money in the store. For this to happen however, there is a bar for convenience that has been set by the e-commerce industry that must be matched – checkout.
The future is hard to predict – but there’s one thing for certain: change. The ascendance, evolution and influence of digital consumers changes the game. That ‘game’ is Marketing, Sales, and the very capabilities of companies to manage, store, maintain and distribute information about its products. This is the information that makes its ways to digital consumers and digital shoppers any time and any way. The companies that have the savvy and the foresight to build the core capabilities needed to deliver to these consumers will win.
Think of digital consumers in three ways. The first, and simplest, is to think about their use of devices, which are constantly changing, sometimes unpredictably. Smart phones, tablets, laptops, watches, (glasses, drones?)…the list goes on. Who’s to predict which devices will dominate in even in the near future?
The second, more important way to think about digital consumers is to understand the contexts in which they will interface with brands and brand information. Where will consumers be and in what situations as they discover, research, share, form an opinion on, recommend, and purchase products? Could the automobile be the most important informational ‘hub’ location for consumers in 2020 because it’s so central to so many contexts? (Will there be an Apple car?).
It’s really about the information. To think about digital consumers is to think about the information that they will demand and expect, in every context. They will expect information to be current, accurate and rich. That would be images, videos, claims, specifications, ingredients, reviews, social-cohort recommendations, purchase sites and locations, with certainly more to come.
The companies best positioned to deliver to and win with digital consumers are the ones that understand the vital importance of information and its context. They’re building strong capabilities around governance and delivery of their product data. That’s one thing to control as they face a mostly unpredictable future.
How does your business address product risk and compliance? Are you simply coping from one regulatory mandate to the next… stringing several point solutions together as you go along, or is there a more holistic solution. For most businesses, addressing product risk and compliance is not an easy one to answer and you are certainly not alone. Collecting, storing, managing and validating product safety or risk-related information is not a simple undertaking. Whether you are a medical device manufacturer preparing to comply with the upcoming FDA UDI regulations, a Foodservice brand owner selling your products in Europe enforced to comply with EU Food regulations (e.g. EU 1169 ) or a retailer facing demands for accurate, robust and legally compliant product information from consumers. The ability to control quality data and its distribution across a large network of external trading partners becomes an ever growing challenge. With legal and regulatory drivers behind these needs, failure to manage product risk effectively is not an option, and can have a major impact upon your sales and brand. Continue reading
The Mobile Product Information Gap
Online sales in the U.S. totaled $263 billion dollars in 2013, an increase of almost 17% from 2012 according to the US Census. According to research firm Javelin, mobile commerce accounted for almost $60 billion, representing 188% growth from 2012. While this impressive growth in mobile commerce represents a tremendous opportunity for the retail industry, it also represents a huge challenge.