Guest post by Geoff Galat, Vice President Marketing, IBM Tealeaf
Last week we all waited with baited breath to find out ‘what’ exactly Apple was going to launch at this year’s World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC). And when Tim Cook unveiled a new operating system and some product upgrades, many of us were a little disappointed, having hoped for a shiny new and exciting smartphone or tablet.
Disappointed or not, we were all very interested in, what is, essentially a gathering of Apple geeks. In fact, type ‘WWDC 2013’ into Google and you will get a staggering 14 million search results, compared to a paltry 1,191,000,000 for ‘WWDC 2012’. This mass interest highlights the incredibly important role that mobile now plays in our lives.
At the end of last year, there were a staggering 6.8 billion mobile subscriptions globally. That is equivalent to 96 percent of the world population.
What’s more, 1 in 6 handsets are now smartphones and by 2016, annual smartphone shipments worldwide will account for more than half of all handsets shipped.
So it won’t come as a surprise to any of us that access to the internet using a mobile has more than doubled between 2010 and 2012, both in the UK and US. Our trusty phone is rapidly becoming the primary medium used to check email, book flights, shop online and interact with social media.
The mobile explosion of the past 12 months has been phenomenal and in this year’s study we delved deeper into the mobile customer experience. After all, as last year’s report found, customers expect brands to have a perfect mobile specific website and a mobile app and they increasingly expect the experience delivered by both of these to be second to none.
But here’s the catch, customer expectation today on mobile devices is higher than ever. If the mobile experience isn’t right first time, customers won’t come back.
Most organisations do understand and recognise the importance of mobile channels but they don’t always get it right. This has to change. Now. In the next two years everything will become mobile and access to the internet via a mobile device will become the ‘norm’.
Companies only have one chance with mobile and if they get it wrong, they risk losing out in an increasingly mobile world.
Get it right, and you will reap the rewards. And the Reducing Customer Struggle Report from Econsultancy will help you do just that. It will give you an insight into what customers want, enhance your understanding of the user journey and enable you to identify consumer personas. All the while, helping you to deliver a customer experience strategy that works for your business and your customers.
Guest post by Bill Loller, Vice President, IBM Smarter Commerce
Everyone is talking about a mobile revolution and with good reason. At the start of 2013 there were 6.8 billion mobile subscriptions globally and in a few years we won’t even be discussing mobile platforms – they will be the norm. In a new IBM-sponsored Econsultancy survey of more than 500 business professionals from around the world, we found that 19 percent of respondents’ total online traffic is attributed to a mobile device – up from 17 percent last year. And while mobile is certainly growing by leaps and bounds, two-thirds of those same professionals admit their organizations are struggling to understand the mobile user experience.
It appears most Chief marketing officers (CMOs) and ecommerce leaders still lack a perfect plan to address the mobile experience – in fact, for many companies their answer to creating a mobile presence is simply adapting an existing website as opposed to building a mobile experience from the ground up. Yet, mobile traffic continues to soar, as three-quarters of those surveyed plan to ramp up their mobile investment this year.
So what can you do to improve your mobile experience? Let’s dive into some best practices for the mobile customer experience:
Experience Matters: Identify the pain points – A recent IBM study of marketing professionals found brands experience about $83 billion in lost sales in the U.S. each year due to poor or inconsistent customer experiences. With 70 percent of survey respondents describing their mobile experience as “okay” or “poor,” there is a true need to focus on the pitfalls of such an inconsistent mobile experience. Issues such as bad navigation, poor “findability,” screen-sizing issues or form-filling problems continue to plague businesses. Determine the pain points of your own site and work to improve them.
Pick your mobile avenue – 40 percent of companies agree that delivering positive customer experiences on mobile is harder than on the web. This can be attributed to the fact that mobile computing is still in its infant stages, but also to the fact that as a brand you need to identify your mobile avenue. Should you invest in developing a mobile application or should you modify your existing website to work well on mobile devices? When choosing between the two, make sure your choice enables the content for your target audience to be optimized appropriately for what your customers need.
Invest in a dedicated mobile team – Only 14 percent of companies surveyed have a dedicated mobile team. This needs to change. Unorganized internal processes only exacerbate problems organizations see when focusing on mobile. Businesses do not have time to do work over and over again due to fragmented communication. Marketers cannot afford to lose customers due to mobile complications. With 89 percent of customers turning to competitors to do business following a poor customer experience, it’s critical to the bottom line to have an integrated team dedicated to ensuring your mobile experience runs smoothly and is meeting customer expectation.
With click-to-site rates three to five times higher on mobile devices than on a PC, SAY Media, Mobile Consumer Behavior: Embracing the Blended Life, 2012, brands can no longer ignore the “mobile issues.” In order to be successful, CMOs need to avoid haphazard solutions and instead, take a mobile first approach to the customer experience. By understanding the pain points associated with developing a mobile strategy and focusing efforts on the mobile user experience, marketers can leverage the power of this growing technology to successfully reach their customers.
I attended the final day of #SmarterCommerce Global Summit 2013 in Nashville a couple of weeks ago. From a virtual walkthrough of a car to a holistic 360-degree view of my social footprint, the application of technology to business was absolutely amazing and a joy to watch. Now I’m really looking forward to the Monaco Global Summit this coming week, June 18-20, where in addition to hearing the excellent speakers at the general sessions, I will be hosting the IBM leaders, customers, and partner community.
IBM is doing more than just talking about intelligence; their customers are actually implementing it! We can all read brochures. When a client executive or a customer panel gets on stage and talks candidly about what they’ve implemented – such as Target stores creating more intelligent ways to engage and influence guests on any screen, any time – we see how Smarter Commerce helps customers make better purchase decisions . I also appreciated the customer sessions, with their candid comments of failures, lessons learned, and evolving best practices.
Here is my take on Smarter Commerce: don’t wait for your customers to lead. Very few organizations can afford to trust that customers will connect the dots between the value proposition and their individual needs or wants. Customers simply aren’t going to invest the time or effort. Customers across a broad base of industries will demand that you listen to and understand them, engage them and deliver the exact offer that matches their tastes, preferences, and prejudices; in essence their desired experiences in every step of the value chain. Get it right, consistently and they’ll reward you with their employment, investments, partnerships and purchases. But you have to do the work before you expect the reward.
How do you build a relationship with someone you don’t know is in the market for your products or services? One you’ve initiative a one-to-one relationship, how do you personalize it–and then scale it? How can you leave less of the experience to chance and make the most out of every moment that current or prospective customer chooses to engage your brand?
Smarter Commerce about listening intently. It’s about identifying, building, nurturing and capitalizing on great relationships. At the Nashville Summit I saw IBM’s “Watson” power a banking customer interface. Soon my bank will interact with me at any time and on any screen I choose.
Smarter Commerce means we understand what is the right information to deliver to a customer and the right channel to deliver it. When your prospects see you as a viable option for credible, actionable information, you begin to capture their attention. Educate and engage them and you’ll gain their respect. Influence their thinking and call to action and you’ll earn their trust and loyalty.
Relationships are the beating heart of the Smarter Commerce approach. It’s as simple as, “Like Me – Know Me – Trust Me – Pay Me!” But getting to strategic quality relationships is not so simple.
Smarter Commerce is an organizational journey. Its destination is an enterprise capable of delivering seamless, intuitive customer experiences. Interactions require contextual relevancy; in essence understanding your customers’ behavior, predicting their needs, preferences and intentions. In working with several clients, I can tell you that this can’t be achieved overnight. There is no “magic pill” to transform the way your team reacts to the data right under their nose! It’s a journey in which they become able to think about and act upon customer insights. That evolution must begin with changing your people’s lens, streamlining their processes, infusing the organization agility, and learning how to fail and apply those failures to the next opportunity!
So, here are three ideas I took away from just one day at the #SmarterCommerce Global Summit:
It’s impressive to see the business applications of the technology solutions.
Smarter Commerce is a transformative mindset.
The applications are endless!
If you can’t join us in Monaco this coming week to experience much of this in person, you can follow #SmarterCommerce. Look forward to meeting all, David
The last time I saw Monaco, I was heading from Milan to Nice in a car-full of IBM colleagues with whom I was on a two-week long business trip throughout Europe.
I remember the shimmering lights along the coast below, but alas, I didn’t have the good fortune to check out the city-state myself.
And though I won’t be heading there next week for the IBM Smarter Commerce Global Summit, there are plenty of IBMers and other “smarter commerce”-minded individuals from around the globe who will.
The conference will be held from Tuesday through Thursday (June 18th-20th) at the Grimaldi Forum Monaco, and will bring together forward thinking executives in marketing, procurement, e-commerce, supply chain, and customer service who are focused on leveraging the latest social, mobile, cloud, and big data trends and sharing best practices across the industries.
At past IBM Smarter Commerce events, we’ve seen a litany of job titles for the attendees: Business Analyst, CEO, CIO, CMO, Chief Procurement Officer (CPO), Line of Business Professional, e-Commerce Professional, Supply Chain Professional…it really runs the gamut.
At the event, you’re going to see how leading companies are using IBM Smarter Commerce technologies and solutions to meet the demands of empowered customers.
To date, we’re expecting more than 2,000 business and IT leaders from around the world, and having just attended the Summit in Nashville a few weeks ago, I can tell you it’s some of the best business information IBM brings to market.
That’s because we recognize it all starts with the customer.
Of course, in business, this has always been true. But a new breed of customer is dictating a new set of terms in the dynamic between buyers and sellers.
Customers now approach a sale more empowered than ever, by both technology and transparency, and with more information at their fingertips than in our entire history.
These customers expect to engage with companies when, where, and how they want, either in person, online, or on the plane.
And, they want all these methods to work together seamlessly.
Some of IBM’s, and the industry’s, best and brightest will be in attendance and speaking. From IBM, you’ll hear from our own CMO, Jon Iwata, whose talks are always compelling. Manoj Saxena, my favorite F1 race car fan (watch out for him on the streets of Monaco!) and the GM of IBM’s Watson Solutions group, Craig Hayman, the GM for our Industry Solutions group in IBM Software, and a host of others.
You’ll also hear from industry thought leaders like Sir Terry Leahy, the exceptional former CEO of Tesco, Wendy Clark, a senior VP for Coca-Cola, , Karren Brady, the vice chairman for West Ham United Football Club, and numerous others.
If you can’t make it in person, be sure to follow the #smartercommerce hashtag on Twitter — I can assure you the folks attending this event won’t be Twitter shy.
Click here to learn more about the event and to register.
Recently, Gartner, Inc released their annual report on e-commerce solutions, the Magic Quadrant for e-commerce. For the report, Gartner evaluated e-commerce providers that enable online sales for B2B & B2C commerce and facilitate the creation and continuing development of an on-line relationship with customers. Gartner states, “E-commerce continues to experience strong growth, impacting industries beyond retail and in consumer-facing and business-facing commerce sites.”
The report also states:
“Mobile, social and a focus on customer analytics all contribute to e-commerce success, but also raise the complexity of an e-commerce initiative.”
“The rapid evolution of technology and changing customer expectations are impacting the customer experience.”
“B2B organizations are seeking to make their customer experiences more B2C-like, while B2C organizations are seeking to use B2B capabilities, such as product configuration, for their more complex product and service offerings.”
IBM is in the leaders quadrant in the report. These findings highlight the driving need for our Smarter Commerce strategy to help all companies, not just retailers, to deliver exceptional customer experiences across all channels of interaction and throughout the entire commerce lifecycle. Gartner states, “E-commerce has often been associated with online retailing. However, this is not the only industry that is taking advantage of selling. Many B2C and B2B industries are using the Web as a sales channel and, where possible, leveraging the knowledge and capabilities of each other’s e-commerce customer experiences.”
Gartner adds “E-commerce is moving beyond just an online selling channel to integrated platforms delivering a unified customer experience,” and expects more companies to integrate capabilities like order-management, content management and digital marketing to meet the expectations of their customers.
IBM WebSphere Commerce allows companies to deliver a seamless and contextually relevant cross-channel shopping experience across all customer touchpoints. IBM customers found WebSphere Commerce as providing ‘transformational’ business benefits to their organizations, highlighting the strategic contribution of these assets.
In the past couple of years we have invested over $2 billion (USD) in our Smarter Commerce portfolio and continue to deliver transformational commerce capabilities to our customers. It’s no coincidence that leading companies such as J.J. Keller and Associates, Staples Inc and 1-800-FLOWERS.com have chosen IBM e-commerce solutions to help enhance their customers’ on-line experience.
Disclaimer: Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner’s research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.
The 4th Annual Smarter Consumer Study released recently continues to deliver interesting insights. The study by the IBM Institute for Business Value surveyed more than 26,000 consumers across 14 countries. While I considered many findings to be worthy of mention, here were three that I found to be most exciting for organisations across all industries working in the business to consumer space:
Over 40% of the surveyed respondents stated that they were willing to share lifestyle, demographic and media usage information in exchange for something relevant from an organisation.
9 out of 10 shoppers were willing to put in time with a retailer to set-up preferences, with the expectation that offers and communications will be personalised.
Respondents are less willing to provide identification data such as name and address (just 28% of respondents) when compared with other types of information (59% of respondents were willing to share media usage data).
What do these statistics mean?
We know organisations recognise the value of customer data, but now customers are seeing how data adds value to their experiences. Customers understand that by providing their data they will receive better, more personalised and relevant offers. Furthermore, customers are willing to spend time supplying this information with the expectation that it will be used appropriately and to provide them with relevant offers – this is great news for organisations. What isn’t great news is that, while customers are willing to share some data with organisations, security concerns mean they are unwilling to release private and identifiable data such as their name and address.
We have data, now what?
A breakdown often occurs at the point where organisations are required to turn the data provided by customers into personalisation. Organisations lack the capabilities to turn customer insights into relevant offers, promotions and experiences. Don’t abuse your customer’s goodwill by ineffectively using their data – this is a customer loyalty killer.
Customers have provided this data to you with the expectation that you will deliver a personalised experience. By investing in analytics capabilities, organisations can capitalise on data and drive revenue growth by creating personalised experiences that entice the customer.
But, while collecting that data, organisations must remember the clear message from the study – customers demand improved security of their data. While customers want to share data they were concerned with its protection. Currently, many organisations take extensive measures to build capabilities that mitigate fraud, yet the same measures are not always developed for data protection. Emphasis needs to be placed on securing data, and these measures need to be made visible to your customers. Security measures encourage your customers to continue to share data with you, providing further opportunity to personalise, target and drive revenue growth.
Data is truly an asset for both the customer and the organisation, capitalise on the data you have now or risk losing customers to organisations that will.
The following is a guest post by Alex Helbig, Channel Sales Leader, Commerce, Europe at IBM. You can catch him at this year’s Smarter Commerce Global Summit in Monaco from 18-20 June. Click here to find out more.
Recently I ordered a product from a company which could only offer me a three or four week delivery turnaround time for a specialist part. My frustration at the long wait time highlighted to me the drastic shift in customer expectations that has taken place. Whilst a three week delivery period might have been acceptable, or even the norm, ten years ago; nowadays people expect their online shopping to be delivered quickly and efficiently, regardless of product or circumstance.
Increasingly businesses appreciate the need to understand, react and adapt to changes in customer behaviours and demands, as they embrace modern ways of commerce. It seems to me that companies which fail to modernise or move forward, such as the aforementioned, will simply cease to exist in 15 years time.
As companies realise that they must become customer-centric across their business models, across buy, market, sell or service processes, they are turning to IBM Smarter Commerce and the growing portfolio of solutions for support. In Europe, our Business Partners play a key role in rolling out IBM’s Smarter Commerce solutions to customers, providing benefits in three key areas:
Skills: Our Business Partners allow IBM to continue developing an increasingly complex portfolio of solutions whilst still being able to supply specialist knowledge required. In this way, our customers can take advantage of bespoke advice and tailored services from our Business Partners, who work to ensure that the right solutions are implemented for each individual business’ needs.
Coverage: The European market is unique; 18+ countries in at least 12 different languages. Our Business Partners programme means that IBM has skilled Partner specialists in every country for each solution. The ability to offer tailored solutions in the local language allows IBM to get closer to the customer and better cater for their needs.
Flexibility: Every customer is different and requires a service model which suits them best; for example, one business may want to pay monthly whilst another may want to give 2% of their revenue. Business partners increase IBM’s flexibility to meet the demands of a quickly changing marketplace.
The future looks bright for IBM’s Business Partners and their customers, particularly with such considerable growth and change on the horizon. As the Smarter Commerce solution portfolio increases, Business Partners can expand beyond their traditional business areas, thus adding more scope to their business offering, as well as greater value for their customers.
For clients embracing Smarter Commerce, dealing with IBM Business Partners is the right choice.
The biggest takeaway for me was how one of the large department store customers of IBM’s has expanded their use of data and integrated analytics across the physical and digital channels. It was great to see how stores can begin to leverage the insights that the online team has and vice versa to create better experiences cross-channel for their customers.
Sameer Khan, Rackspace Senior Digital Marketing Manager and Blogger at Keywebmetrics.com
My biggest takeaway was how IBM is making cross-channel marketing a reality with its marketing solutions. It also was interesting to learn about the cutting edge digital personalization campaigns possible using Tealeaf’s revolutionary behavioral analytics. Last but not least, the transformation of marketing attribution to statistically-significant outcomes leads us one step closer to real time budgeting by knowing which efforts truly deserve credit for downstream sales.
Mike Niemann, IBM Digital Marketing Optimization, Product Management
The predominance of omni-channel as not just a buzzword but a concept that many are really beginning to embrace and tackle was something I saw again and again. Moving from the concept of multi-channel, where the emphasis was more focused on simply getting a brand’s presence extended to various new and emerging channels, toward omni-channel, where a true understanding of customer experiences across mobile devices, interaction channels, and social networks, can really begin to allow marketers to offer a consistent and personalized experience. The business goal is to get to marketing that feels like a service, i.e. is a “youtility” as keynote speaker Jay Baer put it.
Chris Hogan’s quote from Margaret Getchell (one of, if not the, first women executives in retail) from back in the late 1800′s really stands out as being totally relevant in the digital age we live in today: “Be everywhere, do everything, and never fail to astonish the customer”
My #1 take away from the event is that IBM is very focused on building a product suite that truly is integrated and that can provide incredible power to the marketers looking to build customized and unique experiences for their customers. If you think further about how the capabilities from IBM Watson can expand the possibilities, you’re talking about a game-changing ability to make sense of data to identify key personas/segments for optimization efforts.
Aubrey Rupp, IBM Digital Marketing Optimization, Product Management
Own the customer experience. We need to stop thinking about digital and physical as two separate things and capitalize on the magic that happens when we can combine them. We can use this knowledge to maximize the moments with customers, creating a personal experience for each customer and treat them as the unique individuals that they are.
My top takeaways were that enterprise marketers are continuing to look for ease of use for their solutions, best-of-breed technologies (as opposed to becoming a single vendor or single platform house), are intrigued by the possibilities around open technologies (open source/open standards), and continue to see a convergence of mobile, social, cloud and analytics worlds impacting their space.
Blair Reeves, IBM Digital Marketing Optimization, Product Marketing Management
The emphasis has shifted from channel-specific, or even context-specific, strategies to a broader view – the omni-channel view. Or, in other words, we are going “from digital marketing to customer intelligence.” I think the term “customer intelligence” really captures what we mean by both omni-channel and Smarter Commerce – connected customers engaging via channels they choose, and expecting a compelling experience.
Leah Paschall, IBM Digital Marketing Optimization, Product Marketing Management
Following is a guest post by Christina Wojcik, Practice Executive, Contract Management at IBM Industry Solutions.
Although companies are realizing that the opportunity may be ripe for renewed growth, there still can be a hesitancy to add headcount. Legal departments are being called on to do more – but often with no added resources. In the conversations I’ve been having with in-house legal departments, it has recently taken a bit of a twist. Legal departments are focused on “doing more with the same.”
Growth seems to be manifesting in the form of increasing sales and mergers/acquisitions, yet legal departments are struggling to keep-up. One of the areas where in-house counsel are struggling is with their agreements and contracts associated with this increased activity. Sales contracts are becoming more voluminous and more complex. Perhaps there is an increase in third-party paper forcing review time per agreement to increase. In the M&A arena, companies are increasingly pressured to know what risks are associated with the target company’s agreements thereby forcing a longer, more in-depth review process.
So what options do legal departments have when they must do more with the same?
Leveraging the capabilities of a contract management solution will allow you to automate and streamline the contract management lifecycle from creation and execution, through performance monitoring, amendments, analysis and renewal. Many companies may already have a contract management solution in place, purchased by the procurement, sales or legal departments. As you seek to expand, the question often becomes: Are these current solutions robust enough to handle growing uses or new business needs? Are we getting everything we can out of this system or are we using the solution purely for a contract repository? Additional value comes not only in efficiency, but also in cost savings, improved compliance and contract visibility, expedited sales, improved internal and external communication and collaboration, among other areas.
If your organization already has a contract management solution in place, a good place to start extending the value is by ensuring that you are leveraging the solution to automate and simplify the contract creation process. This is accomplished through the use of contract creation wizards, which allow for business users to create pre-approved agreements through an automated interview process or via standard contract templates. Template and wizard-developed contracts will save the legal department countless hours of review and approvals.
Another area where you can extend value and conserve resources is by using the solution to ensure that the right people are reviewing the right agreements and provisions. Most in-house legal departments recognize that their General Counsel or other senior lawyers do not need to review certain agreements such as NDA/CDAs, facility and other lower level agreements. However, often these same legal departments have not empowered their business, through training and preapproved fallback provisions, to create, review and approve agreements without legal involvement. By categorizing agreements by risk and allowing the business units to have additional involvement, in-house lawyers are able to focus on the agreements most important to the business. A Contract Management solution should be able to handle every type of agreement that passes through legal including third-party paper and be able to grow with the business.
Finally, in preparing for an M&A or litigation event, legal needs to have insight into contracts created outside of a contract management solution. To gain this insight, they must implement a combination of contract discovery (cDiscovery) software as well as add an element of human or manual review. Through the use of the cDiscovery software and human review, information from the legacy agreements can be uploaded into the contract management solution so that the information will be fully search able the next time it is needed.
The biggest mistakes I’ve seen with companies installing new contract management software is not preparing for the future and simply making a decision based on immediate need, price and perceived simplicity of use.
By ensuring that (1) the organization has the right software to meet its needs, (2) empowering the business to create and negotiate agreements and (3) focusing the right resources on the right agreements, in-house legal departments focus on the agreements that have the highest dollar value, strategic value, greatest risk factors. They can do more with less, more with the same – and extend their value to the business.
Smarter Commerce Blog Smarter Commerce is a blog intended to provide readers with thought-provoking content and a place to talk about the issues raised within the content. It is our hope that you will feel compelled to share some of the things you see, read and hear on this blog with your friends, family and peers. We feel strongly that this blog is not going to deliver final answers to the issues raised, but that it will represent a starting point for conversation around the issues.