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The shift from traditional sales models to the digital environment is well and truly in its maturity, yet it took the disruption of COVID-19 for many organisations to recognise the value in e-commerce.
No longer do customers want to spend half an hour on a call making orders with their suppliers – especially when they can find competitors who offer user-friendly, digital platforms from which to conduct their business. Moreover, the on-demand, accessible and personalised experience of e-commerce means decision-makers need to embrace it now or risk being left behind.
The modern customer is fastidious, motivated by ease of access, and time-poor. Perhaps most critically, they have a wealth of options at their disposal, and they aren’t afraid to jump ship to a different supplier if they experience frustrating roadblocks in the sales funnel.
Whereas traditional sales models involve call centres and human-to-human interactions – which can turn a simple transaction into a lengthy process – digital e-commerce platforms are streamlining the supplier–customer relationship by automating all the slow-moving parts of the traditional model.
Suppliers using a digital platform can automate tasks that would otherwise be laborious:
Shifting expensive channels to a more personalised focus
The potential cost savings of shifting to a digital platform cannot be stressed enough, particularly through the lens of the traditional cost-to-serve model. Consumer-goods companies reliant on a non-digital supply chain typically endure a high cost of doing business. The physical call centre is expensive and inefficient compared to more practical digital solutions (e.g. live chat and even AI-powered chatbots). Sales reps who command a high salary also more often act as administrators rather than the business development executives you would have hoped they would be come.
By moving to an e-commerce model, you can streamline the entire call centre – reducing overheads while also giving your customers what they want: a personalised experience and speed of purchase. You can also free your sales reps from the shackles of admin duties and instead push them towards more profit-generating tasks, such as curating relationships with your most profitable customers with the goal of turning them into partners and brand ambassadors.
How digital enables personalisation
Data is arguably the most valuable commodity for any modern business, particularly after the major disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic. With countless businesses taking the leap into digital transformation in 2020, industries are becoming more competitive and customers have a raft of supplier options at their disposal.
That means organisations need key data on their customers in order to deliver a personalised experience that keeps them coming back for more.
Personalisation on an e-commerce platform can come in many different forms of dynamic content. Maybe you want to show them a specific offer based on their previous purchase history. Perhaps you’ve monitored their browsing behaviour and can recommend a relevant product to them. Even their demographic can inform how you market to a customer. In the traditional sales model, this type of detailed personalisation is next to impossible – especially for soft prospects.
A customer’s expectation of the sales experience in 2021 is very different from years past. They demand an accessible sales channel. They don’t want to waste time on the phone with customer service. And they appreciate a personalised approach that recognises what they want from your business. Organisations that leverage data and deliver a streamlined customer experience will be the ones who thrive in 2021.
A personalised customer experience driven by valuable data and automation can be the key to unlocking new segments – while also reducing the overheads of a traditional sales model. Get in touch with the authors to find out more, or read about the solution here.
With over 10 years' experience in omni-channel commerce, John has been a key piece in commerce and consumer digital transformation across much of the ANZ consumer and retail landscape. Some key clients include; Super Retail Group (Super Cheap Auto, Rays, BCF and Rebel Australia), The Warehouse Group (in New Zealand), Mecca, Perth Airport, Amart Furniture, My Muscle Chef, True Alliance, Sony, Apparel Group (Sportscraft, Saba and JAG), Michael Hill Jewellers, Emu Australia, Cotton On, 2XU, Brandbank (Seed Heritage, French Connection and ninewest), SurfStitch and Rodd and Gunn.