Today’s consumers start and remain digital through their entire buying journey and beyond.
If you want to win over today’s consumer, a primary goal of your ecommerce digital transformation strategy must be to deliver a great digital experience to your customers at every touchpoint along their buying journey.
The reality, however, is that companies are not prepared to deliver on that customer experience.
Among the hundreds of consumer goods companies we’ve worked with over the years, only a handful have the vision, commitment, and the digital tools to give their consumers a great digital experience across their entire buying journey.
While our most successful and forward-thinking clients vary widely in how they are undertaking their digital transformation, there are three key characteristics they share: they treat ecommerce as an integral part of their customers’ buying journey; they have invested heavily in a digital transformation team; and they choose their ecommerce partners wisely.
How Visionary Companies Approach Ecommerce Digital Transformation
1. Treat ecommerce as an integral part of the customers’ buying journey.
Our most successful clients have shed the primitive notion of ecommerce being a “channel” in which ROI is the primary KPI to consider. They view ecommerce as an ongoing investment that will help them to map their customers’ buying journey and deliver the product information they have come to expect.
One of our largest clients – a global consumer packaged goods company with dozens of brands – has invested strategically to build out content across their most visible ecommerce platforms, despite the fact that less than 3% of their total sales comes from online sales.
As consultant Greg Verdino succinctly puts it, digital transformation is all about closing the gap between what your customers expect from you and what you can deliver. Our CPG client knows that their customers turn to online retailers for information about their products. If they want to grow their customer base, they need to be where their customers congregate and deliver the information they need and have come to expect.
Another major consumer goods client, which has more than a dozen household brands in its portfolio, has taken this notion a step further and has identified Amazon as a primary step in their customers’ journey.
They know that nearly half of all product-related research starts on Amazon, so they are investing heavily in Amazon content and paid search. They view Amazon both as a platform in which their products will become more easily “discovered,” and their soon-to-be biggest retail channel. But the key to their strategy is that they view Amazon as a lynchpin to their entire sales and marketing strategy; as a company they are eliminating the boundary between online and offline.
Another characteristic that these two companies share is they both view ecommerce content as an investment in their customers’ journey, and the long-term return on that investment will be far greater than what the specific online sales will give them in the short term.
2. Fund a “digital transformation team” to lead the charge.
The Altimer Group released a standard-setting report that outlines the three major requirements needed to undergo a successful ecommerce digital transformation, one of them being the formation of a digital transformation team.
Center for Digital Excellence and Global E-Transformation are two the several monikers our larger clients have adopted for their digital transformation teams.
With smaller, single-brand companies, individuals have been deputized to lead the digital transformation charge.
We’ve seen ecommerce digital transformation teams face tremendous hurdles within their organizations; brands, in particular, are loathe to give up control of their budgets, content, and processes. Yet clients who have brought their business groups into alignment have succeeded in consolidating budgets and improving workflow efficiencies.
Additionally, by establishing a common set of style guides, practices, and key performance indicators, digital transformation teams have already begun to positively impact the consumer experience.
3. Choose ecommerce partners wisely
In its report, the Altimer Group proposed a fairly simple definition of “Digital Transformation” that cuts to the chase:
- The realignment of, or new investment in, technology and business models to more effectively engage digital consumers at every touchpoint in the customer experience life cycle.
Understanding ecommerce as being an integral part of every customer’s journey, and deputizing an ecommerce digital transformation team are two of the prerequisites to achieving a successful digital transformation.
The third prerequisite is finding the right partners to complete the job. A comprehensive strategy involves a wide range of implementations that touch an enterprise’s social, mobile, ecommerce, data, CMS, and CRM platforms. No company can transform on their own.
Digital Transformation Requires Strategic Content
Since 2007, we have worked with over 700 companies across many product lines to deliver a great customer experience across their ecommerce platforms. Our value is in delivering strategic ecommerce content to shoppers. We already know ecommerce content better than anyone on the planet, and we are getting smarter about it every day.
Ensuring that your customers have the information they need to make a confident buying decision is a key requirement to any great customer experience. Without that, your digital transformation investments will come to naught.