1. Self-Service moves everywhere
The self-service channel is fast emerging as an easy, affordable way to gain customers and an asset that no company can ignore.
As new technology and resources emerge, companies stuck in outdated customer acquisition processes are leaving money on the table. Research shows that 60% of tech research is done online– before a prospect ever contacts a company to enter the sales process. Further, Avangate’s internal research reveals suggests almost 40% of all the leads a software firm does generate will never become ready to engage with the direct sales team. Clearly, companies are spending a lot of time and money to attract prospects that never turn into customers.
Time then to establish a bold new online self-service channel to grow revenue and improve operations and leave behind the old-school customer acquisition methods some companies are mired in. A self-service channel can add incremental revenue from under-served but potentially very profitable leads, offset marketing costs and serve as an upsell path to direct sales. This is important in an increasingly subscription/membership driven world, i.e. in an “engage, delight, and grow” type of model.
At its core, online self-service enables the “long tail” of sales, capturing the growing population of customers who demand a unique, self-defined experience, not a standard direct sales process. Recovering even small amounts of revenue from a large amount of customers, who would otherwise remain in “Lead Purgatory”, can make a big difference in the long run for your company’s bottom line.
2. Digitization crosses all industries making the selling of products just an excuse to sell services
As digitization continues to invade more industries, selling products will become just an excuse to sell services – which are often the source of real value to customers.
Software on top of your toothbrush that tells your dentist how often you brush? Philips thought of it already. Or the Nike+ shoe that measures and records the distance and pace of a walk or run? Another reality of our lives and one that will surely become more prevalent as time goes by.
Flexible commerce options will need to be native to every aspect of the customer relationship, from self-service to automatically updating software on top of hardware or appliances, or any other physical product.
The customer will expect to get value (not only purchase), and interact with their providers and favorite brands only via the online or the physical store, any touchpoint, at any time, from anywhere in the world.
3. A new role will emerge – The Chief Commerce Officer
Online commerce is becoming more and more complex. Information on companies and their offerings is now so readily available that modern prospects are no longer on predictable customer sales paths. Now, they are deciding where, when, and how they engage with a company – on their own. And not only do customers have more control, transactions are more complex than ever. On average, 33 systems and six organizations participate to deliver a single order.
The impact of self-service and digitization everywhere, the need to forge longer term relationships, the complexity around exchanging value with the customers, all of these demand businesses to rethink commerce.
So a new executive – the Chief Commerce Officer – is needed to drive the overall commerce strategy of the business. Where the CEO drives the values and vision of the company and the CFO defines the financial strategy, the new CCO role will bridge marketing, sales, operations, and finance to deliver on the promise of a cohesive and compelling customer experience where commerce is involved. Ultimately, the CCO will establish what every customer engagement needs to look like in order to make doing business an exchange of value, not just product.
We look forward to engaging with the new CMOs in 2014 and to discussing innovative strategies and tactics to drive successful commerce strategies for their organizations.