Capital-intensive hardware/software upgrades aside, latecomers to digital e-commerce have more challenges to grapple with. Knowing the ‘four Bs’ can help …

Having realized that hesitating and delaying digital transformation in an unstoppable global digitalization movement is detrimental, many firms have kickstarted their journey of creating a consistent experience across their brand’s marketing channels. 

However, since the proliferation of e-commerce platforms has lowered the barriers to entry, latecomers to digital commerce will find the landscape increasingly competitive compared to that in the earlier days. 

While many brands today have accelerated the digitalization of their customer interactions, thriving in today’s competitive commerce sector requires going one step further and adopting integrated digital strategies that will differentiate the good from the great. In essence, a digital reinvention is in order. 

Not just about technical prowess

Aside from reinventing themselves via the hardware, brands also need to work on their “heartware”: creating meaningful experiences to win over the hearts of consumers and building loyalty. How?

Building digital brand, brain, build and brawn is key:

    • To build a digital brand, firms need to create a consistent experience across their digital commerce ecosystem.
    • On top of that, a digital brain with a secure data foundation and analytics enabled by the Cloud can help firms understand customers’ unique needs and wants better, in all contexts. Brands like Shiseido are drawing on data to deliver more personalized consumer services and tailored experiences. In the Japanese market, for example, customers can access skin analysis services from home, obtain custom beauty advice, and get beauty information tailored for the seasons via the company’s mobile app.
    • Firms also need a digital build — establish a digital commerce ecosystem with a modular and flexible architecture to scale everywhere they sell. It should integrate business functions such as sales, service, marketing, and supply chain and support seamless omnichannel buying experiences.
    • Finally, firms need to develop digital brawn — establish well-defined resourcing and technology ecosystems to achieve scale, which in turn may improve brand operations.

Technical enhancements aside, firms need to invest in bringing meaningful experiences to commerce. With the explosion of commerce channels and the flood of content in daily life, firms should differentiate with creativity. 

Digitalize creatively

One example of harnessing creativity to deliver meaningful experiences and solve a business problem is how Indonesia’s Telkomsel achieved more than 30% transaction growth by connecting the “ketengan” (sachet street culture) with its new affordable and flexible data packages.

Due to negative perceptions around affordability among its lower-spend customers, the firm leveraged digital flexibility to respect customers’ limited budgets and even help them celebrate their current way of life and habits.

As more digitally savvy consumers enter the market, firms entering the digital economy will need to build up their relevance to consumers’ lives with both hardware and “heartware”.

Simone Morandi, Growth Markets Commerce Lead, Accenture Song