»Time is money,« says Benjamin Franklin’s essay: »Advice to a Young Tradesman« published in 1748. And even over 270 years later, this famous quote hasn’t lost importance. On the contrary: More than ever before, the e-tailers – the “tradesmen” of today and tomorrow – need to make the most of their time, the time of their customers, and the signs of the times. Sounds philosophical, but leads to the central question of this fast-moving digital age: How do dealers manage to meet customer demands in light of the times?
And the answer – always presents companies with complex challenges: Almost everything has to be REAL. Real-time personalised offers, real-time for real relationship management from person to person, real content, promoted by real users, and not least, a true brand image. However, this will only succeed if companies “look for innovative and new ways” and integrate them – with the customer at the centre of all efforts – into their business strategy.
This is also shown by the study »eTail – Driving Decisions with Real-Time Data«, in which 100 e-commerce execs from Germany and Europe were asked at the end of 2018 about which challenges they currently face. Today, you’ll learn what the Worldwide Business Research Insights study in collaboration with dotSource, Looker Data Science Inc., and Algolia has revealed.
Real data for real success
In the foreword to the study, dotSource founder and Managing Director Christian Otto Grötsch, John O’Keefee, vice president of Looker and Matthieu Blandineau, product manager at Algolia, discuss the challenges and opportunities of online and offline commerce.
From all three experts, it emerged that sustainable success in the digital age is a process, not a one-off project. Because just as trends and new technologies are constantly influencing customer expectations, the latter, in turn, define the way to approach them on the business side.
A selection of products alone is no longer enough. On and offline is about shopping as a personalised experience – an experience with added value. And all this in a hybrid of channels, customer data, and the corresponding reactions to it. Therefore, it’s all the more important to combine this information correctly in order to meet the customer in the same way as his purchasing behaviour claims: holistically.
Analogous to the main topics of the eTail study, this works as follows:
- Part 1: Automating eCommerce
- Part 2: Aligning Data in Real-Time
- Part 3: Utilising Marketplaces
- Part 4: Driving Decisions with Data
Automation and AI
More and more companies are turning to automation. Even if the price is no longer a unique selling point in e-commerce, it plays a decisive role, according to the study, given the level of automation. More than half of respondents automate price changes and adjustments depending on the promotion (60 per cent) or product combination (53 per cent).
According to Gartner, a quarter of all customer communications will be through chatbots by 2020. The results of the eTail AI-based customer service study align with this forecast. Almost half of the respondents already rely on chatbots, and just under 40 per cent on voice-controlled conversational commerce.
Almost every business has started to see, use, or at least consider automation as part of the business strategy. However, it’s also striking that nearly half of those surveyed find it difficult to implement automated processes because they lack skilled staff.
Automation and AI are not only on the minds of businesses but also at the top of the recruiting agenda. Not only does the company benefit from these innovative technologies thanks to time and cost savings, but above all, the customer, whose requests can be responded to even faster and more individually.
Miro Morczinek, CEO of 24factory says it in a nutshell:
» One of the most important areas of automation in the future will be personalisation. «
More than half of respondents see personal recommendations and user-generated content as the greatest potential for greater customer loyalty.
In addition, 20 per cent of study participants make their business decisions based on real-time data. Here it becomes clear that having up-to-date data and making meaningful use of it, is still two sides of the same coin, which must be profitably combined.
In order to successfully use data in the mobile commerce era, it’s of course also necessary to have the right conversion rate strategies. It’s also aware of more than 60 per cent of respondents who optimize them via cookie retargeting and adjusted data sources.
Marketplaces – An opportunity and challenge at the same time
How and whereas leading questions still play a key role in e-commerce success. With more than 80 per cent, the study result confirms the continuing trend of marketplaces as »the place to be«.
In addition to reach, almost half of the respondents agree that the biggest advantage of selling through marketplaces is the very rapid growth of the company.
When it comes to the disadvantages of this channel, the following factors share the survey outcome almost equally: a lack of control of customer service due to third-party logistics, the loss of brand identity, and the sales commission that should not be underestimated.
Real users and complete control
Customers are the best brand ambassadors and posts on social networks – whether organic or advertised – still of high importance. For example, the majority of respondents rate user-generated content in the form of consumer photos and video content as the most effective social media advertising.
Especially in view of this, it’s even more important to give consumers more control over their personal data. Almost a third of the e-commerce execs surveyed also consider this to be very important. There’s definitely still room for improvement. Because who grants transparency and his customers more data control, not only stands out from the competition but creates trust.
Download for free now!
Find out what new and innovative ways companies need to go about this and how they can directly address the customer during their purchasing activity in the study »eTail – Driving Decisions with Real-Time Data«. Available exclusively to retailers, manufacturers, and publishers via free download.