One key challenge organizations face is getting the most from digital sales and marketing platforms. During the past few years, many organizations have invested in digital platforms focused on B2C/B2B customers, partners, and dealers. These include marketing, content and experience, and ecommerce platforms.
But how do companies measure the value these platforms are creating, and how do they increase value realization?
Digital platform owners should deploy a digital value realization (DVR) framework to ensure they are continuously driving value. This value can come from many areas: additional revenue, lower transaction costs, innovation of product/service, business customer retention, and faster speed to market.
DVR examines value creation in digital platforms from three different perspectives: generating the most from existing investments, expanding capabilities to address the complete customer journey value, and creating highly agile IT platforms.
Drive Business Outcomes
The first step is to maximize the value from investments in existing platforms. This is driven by focusing on the user experience and redesigning it to improve the digital platform’s purpose.
- Empower business to create new experiences and engagements
- Create 1:1 engagement on a real-time basis
- Redesign customer experience to drive conversion
- Deliver consistent web app/mobile app experiences across channels or platforms
This should be done in the context of the business model and target customer segment. For example, the top priority of grocery retailers’ customers is the convenience of ordering and trusting that the complete order will be delivered on time. Meeting this priority is vital for the retailer’s customer retention. Grocery retailers should look at their customer journeys and provide a system that is convenient for reorders, predictive baskets, and provides customers real-time visibility into order delivery. If the retailer can only fill a partial order, it could provide substitutes and confirm them with the customer before delivery. The predictability of reorder is of high priority for grocery retailers planning inventory and supply chain.
Similarly for apparel retailers, return reduction is a key KPI for orders through web channels. With most apparel buying shifting to ecommerce — without the flexibility of in-store trials — retailers should look at front-end features to help customers select the right product. This means having the capability to suggest sizes based on past orders, return patterns, and size mapping across brands.
It’s critical to look at the customer journey and invest in experience apps that help drive core business KPIs beyond typical experience KPIs like product discovery, checkout, and experience.
Experience-driven businesses have a competitive advantage in both the B2C and B2B spaces. Customer experience (CX) optimization for improving business outcome KPIs should be the focus, with equal emphasis on expanding platform capabilities to cover the end-to-end customer journey.
- Connected experience platform blending ecommerce and marketing
- Catering to new customer segments and fulfillment models
- B2B digital platform covering functions such as CPQ, order capture, and prebooking
- Increasing self-service for partners and customers
Organizations should look at their end-to-end process not just from an automation and efficiency perspective, but also from the point of user sentiment. Considering the current safety issues, multiple functions and activities that were done in a physical manner should shift to digital channels. This includes touchless orders in restaurants, zero-touch delivery for retailers, and digital onboarding/registrations for health centers. Even in B2B business models, functions such as customer management, order configuration, and negotiation, all of which were previously driven primarily through sales representatives, will shift to digital channels for sales enablement.
Businesses that remodel themselves to address these customer sentiments will outperform others. This requires looking at existing digital platforms and adding new capabilities and features to make it a seamless, touchless experience.
A solid IT infrastructure will help companies build a competitive advantage by delivering customer insights, experiences, and engagements faster and more effectively. IT platforms should support business agility and help disrupt and innovate by:
- Moving to an agile, non-monolith, lightweight, open, scalable platform
- Consolidating disparate systems across geographies into a neo-unified solution
- Using a headless microservices architecture to support new engagement devices and channels
In the new normal, there is a clear shift to digital channels across industries. Some sites are seeing customer traffic like never before, and in the coming months, online interactions will be the new way of engagement for the majority of consumers. This requires organizations to have digital platforms with the ability to scale without exponentially increasing infrastructure costs.
Addressing changing customer behaviors and new business-model requirements means IT owners must rollout new features and capabilities within weeks, not months. This requires agility in architecture as well as the design of engagement systems like marketing, commerce, and service.
Organizations should apply this framework holistically to create competitive differentiation and get the best value from their digital investments.