We are witnessing the biggest revolution in the field of shopping since the first large stores were installed in the center of cities, more than a century ago. And precisely we, the consumers, are leading this revolution, using for example applications of our iPhone to check the prices of the products that we are going to acquire. We are living in the era of mobility and social networks, a new digital environment in which consumers ask their friends for an opinion before buying a product and use their smartphones and tablets to buy.
In addition to purchasing patterns, it is necessary to examine social sentiment, know how consumers perceive a company or brand, what they are saying, what products or campaigns generate the most excitement or if there is any negative opinion. All this can help predict the behavior of consumers when buying and avoid potential problems. Anyone simply updating their Facebook or Twitter can become a massive advertising claim of a brand – or its worst nightmare – with hundreds and sometimes thousands of followers.
This transformation has led to a transfer of power over the brand from the company to the consumer, which acquires a more active role and with greater capacity for influence. In fact, according to the IBM study, “From the challenge to success: the transformation of marketing in the digital age,” most of the top marketing managers acknowledge that the way their companies relate to customers has completely changed and is they require new skills and tools to adapt to it. The explosion of data, social networks, and the diversity of devices are key factors for this change of perspective.
In this scenario, the sellers have all these data, devices and social networks at their disposal for their own benefit. The key is to turn customers – and their data – into the center of everything the company does, from purchasing to marketing, sales or customer service.
We call this the new approach of Smarter Commerce, intelligent commerce, a new strategy that involves collecting and analyzing the data generated around customers – not only what they buy and where, but also why and how they choose those products and services. what they tell their friends With this analysis, companies can predict changes in their clients’ preferences instead of reacting to their subsequent opinions.
Data and analytics become powerful tools that make the consumer influential and constitute the latest discovery in this area. Data and analytics are at the center of the processes that make companies work, whether in inventory optimization, selective marketing or supply chain management.
Customers are creating new rules of the game between buyers and sellers and both can benefit from it. These changes can help sellers also, if they wish, to transform their businesses.
For example, Hertz has always valued the opinion of its customers about its car rental service and customer service. In the past, Hertz employees had to process every comment sent by customers, online or by phone and sort them by categories. Now the world’s largest car rental company uses analytical software to examine responses to customer satisfaction surveys (including sms). The system filters and labels the opinions of consumers so that Hertz can react more efficiently and agilely.
This is what sellers need when it comes to doing business, agile and intelligent systems. It is a fact that the web, iPhones, Facebook and Twitter are creating better informed customers and we can all benefit from the creation of new ways to buy and interact with our favorite companies.
For all this it is essential that sellers move from traditional sales tactics to smarter approaches that allow to extend their personalization capabilities beyond the PC. It is the ability to send relevant offers through multiple channels that will make all marketing efforts go from being an unwelcome intrusion to a service with added value. It will benefit all of us to receive only the offers that interest us – not the irrelevant spam that wastes time for consumers and money for companies.
Analytics is able to give sellers the power to send offers according to the preferences of each person, essentially turning marketing into customer service.