What is your digital disruption plan for 2016?

By Glenn Saunders

buynowDigital transformation is becoming a more prolific topic among the top consultancies in the world. When the darling blue chip GE starts an active advertising campaign (See the Commercial Here) touting itself as “The digital company. That’s also an industrial company.” it may be time to evaluate what impact a digital transformation will have on small to mid-size businesses.

The premise behind a digital company is the fundamental way in which organizations engage customers and ultimately sell their product or service. With the advent of social media and proliferation of mobile devices, customers actively search for products and services in a very different way than they did 5, 10 and 20 years ago. Most individuals under the age of 30 probably do not remember a phone book with the traditional white and yellow pages. Now, more than ever before, organizations must engage with customers whenever, wherever and however the customers are looking. For many companies, both large and small, it is the only way to thrive in the digital economy. The reverse side of this is that some digital companies are now moving into retail after years of only being online (Amazon opens first brick and mortar store). Customers are everywhere and therefore companies need to be everywhere as well.

How can a company prepare itself for a transformation where it engages with customers online, in-store and on social media?

Understand customer engagement

First, understand where your buyers are most likely to engage. Brick and mortar retail stores are a large segment of the market that can open up vast opportunities with new customers via online stores. Conversely, tech companies can also open up new opportunities by opening up brick and mortar stores. For example, Apple stores became such a success in today’s world because Apple knew that having a ‘cool’ store would only increase customer engagement and increase sales. Apple understood their buyer and created an experience that matched their needs.

Second, as mentioned above, create meaningful experiences for customers and ensure that those experiences are matched across all channels with customers. A seamless experience, whether you are in a retail store, web store, or on social media, build brand loyalty and customers know what to expect. For instance, custom tailor, Alton Lane, utilizes NetSuite to ensure that they deliver a highly personalized experience to customers. Having one system to manage all customer transaction history, inventory and customer communications allows Alton Lane to focus on delivering outstanding customer service.

Technology can help

Finally, having a system that provides clear insights into your customer information is critical to ensuring a consistent communication with customers but also to document and review customer satisfaction levels. There is no better business growth stimulus than customer referrals. A friend who outlines a positive experience with a business is typically worth more than a multitude of marketing communications with prospective customers. Additionally, understanding the buying patterns of your customers can provide insight into additional revenue opportunities. Amazon does a fantastic job of recommending products and reminding customers of products that compliment previous purchases. Amazon uses its customer data and understanding of correlated products and services to increase revenue and, if done properly, customer satisfaction.

Fundamentally, it is not a matter of if organizations will need a digital transformation strategy, it is a matter of when. Consumers will continue to alter behaviors and new disruptive technology will be invented. Businesses must stay ahead of the curve and create engaging customer experiences to build brand loyalty and interact with customers how, when and where the customer decides. At Kraft, we help companies make the digital journey by leveraging NetSuite as an omni-channel business management system where business owners have a single view into the customer journey. Contact us to learn more about how NetSuite and Kraft can assist your company with its digital voyage.