In the fast-changing, thin-margin world of consumer products, new winners and losers are created every day. Speed of innovation, time-to-market, and employee productivity can mean the difference between the next hot trend and a warehouse full of excess inventory. Success in the highly competitive consumer packaged goods (CPG) and retail industry depends on broad-ranging collaboration, accelerated innovation, and employees who are empowered and productive every step along the way—from product development, to merchandising and sourcing, to store management and customer service.
Last week I was honored to co-present with Parvez Patel, senior director of e-strategy at Grainger, on a session at Internet Retailer Conference 2013, titled “Social Marketing for B2B: It’s Not Just for B2C Anymore.”
In this session both of us discussed how we approached B2B social media from a Grainger perspective and from a Cisco retail industry marketing perspective. Some of the points that we discussed include:
I love shopping. I love traveling. I hate going to the hospital. I sometimes like going to the bank (only if it involves the depositing a large check). On the surface, it may seem that there’s no common thread about each of these experiences, however, there actually is a lot in common!
Each of these industries (retail, transportation, healthcare, banking) is becoming more passionate about truly delivering good customer experience and building customer loyalty. Why? Research has established that satisfied customers spend more money “now” and, in the longer term, become more loyal. For example, according to a J.D. Power survey, a delighted traveler is likely to spend 45% more money at the airport than someone who is disappointed with their experience.
Okay, sold! Let’s start delivering “good” experience and start counting the money…right? Not exactly. Unfortunately, it’s not quite that simple.
First of all, what exactly is “good” experience? The answers will vary greatly depending on the industry vertical and brands within a vertical. Hence, one of the major challenges is actually defining “good” experience.
While there are certainly unique attributes to “good” experience in different industries, there is a common theme emerging: the synchronization of physical and digital experience. For example, research by Cisco’s Internet Business Solutions Group, revealed 93% of products sold in the United States are still bought in brick-and-mortar locations. In addition, over 50% of all consumers access (or would like to access) to digital content while shopping in a store, either through digital touch-screens or their own smartphones/tablets. This research reveals that more and more consumers are relying on real-time digital content to make purchasing decisions. In essence, consumers are becoming “informed buyers” during the shopping experience.
Unfortunately, with respect to customer experience, in many companies today the physical and digital worlds still sit across a great divide. Often, these two functions are housed in different organizations and are loosely coupled with respect to operations and culture. While we’ve made significant progress, digital experience is often an after-thought that peacefully co-exists with physical experience.
But, that’s not going to work any more. Consumers are expecting more, and they vote with their wallets. So, start truly synchronizing your digital and physical experiences…or else!
There are indeed a number of challenges in making smart stores, what do you think is most difficult in actually accomplishing this?
Internet Retailer Conference and Expo 2013, being held this year in Chicago from June 4th to 7th at the McCormick Convention Center, is expected to draw more than 9,500 attendees.
I am excited to be presenting with Parvez Patel, senior director of E-marketing at Grainger, on the B2B Social Media Track this Thursday, June 6th from 1:45pm to 2:30pm CT on the topic “Social marketing for b2b: It’s not just for b2c anymore.”
In this session, Parvez and I will present and take questions on the following:
I have been participating in meetings with the Association of Retail Technology Standards (ARTS) since 2006 when Cisco joined as a member organization. ARTS, a division of the National Retail Federation, is an international membership organization dedicated to reducing the costs of technology through standards. Its mission is to develop best practices, technology standards and educational programs through collaboration and partnerships that will enable retailers, their vendors and suppliers to conduct business globally. ARTS standards, products and programs are dedicated to fostering innovation, improving shopper experience, and increasing retailer efficiency.