Archive for category Business Model & Technology

Creating Single Vision of a customer – The Digital DNA

We talk about unified platform, data driven marketing, big data and so on, unfortunately, when we look at feasibility of such practices among brands, its far-fetched reality and just a board room discussion. Just the way we have clutter in customer segment so is the IT platforms in many of the organization, which are a sheer tick mark in terms of investments or legacies which have not been reviewed with changing trends, but not seen from one vision point of view.

For example, today if we have to perceive the persona of a customer from the company’s prospective, he would be seen through different filters such as CRM, Loyalty, Social Analytic, web analytic, BI tools drawing different persona of the same customer instead of building one customer persona, resulting in irrelevant & multiple campaigns, promotions targeting the same customers, most of the time irrelevant and not hitting the ROI mark.

The crux is customer centricity, not in terms of a single department, but in terms of the entire company looking at it. A persona is a result of collation of various signals from different sources; offline & online modes. It is matter of drawing a strategic view to draw those visions, because they translate the investment pattern into technologies which help you to optimize, predict and monetize in terms of understanding the right behavior, customer segment, place to target and offer.

Just as time & tide waits for none, so is the customer today, it doesn’t take time to become irrelevant to them, with irrelevant messages which flows in from various sources where he/she are in at the time of display. For instance, the FB ads or any other form of displays, excepting contextual mapping, how many time do you even look at it, forget click “know more”, the answer is majority of you ignore or don’t even see it.

The digital DNA, is just not building websites and creating brand presence across various online vehicle, it is more to understand your customers by delivering the right content at right time. The time has come where in your brand should deliver the experience by making the customer feel  special, through knowing or predicting who he/she needs and innovating your offering to them.

Industrialization brought in masses with economy in scale whereas digitization is going to bring in personalization with understanding customer behavioral signals. As said by Marcel Proust “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands but seeing with new eyes”. Implementing the right unified platform which integrates applications of business technology & Information technology holds the key of success. The digital empowerment today is going to fade data silos in organization, in a vision of building one single customer persona.



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Building experience flow which matters, through adoption of right analytics and tools- A part of engaging Idle Mind Strategy

Marketers have been working on building experience flows to capitalize on analyzing consumer behavior to build personalized experience, which can enable brands to associate itself with the consumers and build them into the product sales life cycle. The crux of the game here is how to build effective tools and analytic which could help the marketer engage those minds which have been looking out, but aren’t engaged yet.

As technology evolves with more and more closer association to complex data, which are nothing but what consumers leaves as footprints either in the way of search, feedback on reference sites, updates on the social medias or in the means of queries, sharing & liking of interesting videos, which are nothing but coded wires which needs to be interpreted and analysed into right impulses to be played on. In other word these are those forms of big data which needs integrator in terms of digital marketing tools to translate positioning and targeting strategies.

These trends are only evolving out purely on all odds of traditional medium which were purely in terms of print and in person engagement in building mind share among its consumers. With the growing acceptance and penetration of smart technology, it throws more and more emphasis on adoption of these trends to engage minds which are at look out, and are also at an early stages of acceptance of brands.

The adoption of digital marketing tools should be an integrated approach where in a brand could track every aspect of online behavior then just one aspect, as observed in the case of big data, data source can be from anywhere. Unilever’s move in India towards skewing their marketing dollars towards online medium is just the start of the era of investments in these technologies. Telecom majors in India like Airtel use these tools not only to note what people have been talking about them on social but also use it as a medium to engage with their prospects.

The essence is on understanding the online behavioral side of a consumer and focusing on the right vehicle of engagement in terms of selection of mediums of smart technologies & platforms, and integrating them which helps is channelizing the minds which are in lookout. This brings in the importance of a well thought through experience flow, keeping in mind of the consumer and his modes of being online. Stressing out on a stream lined experience which is seamless, engaging and carries the brand essence through out to building a loyal customer, who just can’t stop talking about the experience he/she had while engaging with the brand.

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Changing Faces Of eCommerce: Technology & Business Models

eCommerce or eRetailing, is just getting more and more exciting with the advent of new technology which are smarter, lighter and advanced, to convert every experience closer to reality. Every platform today can boast one new feature, a new innovation and optimized technique to entice their shopper. The trick is to bridge the gap arising from the real life shopping, reduce the rejection on delivery and increase process efficiency.  While I was writing on Augmented reality & Social Commerce, in one of my posts, I considered them as a boon to the eCommerce, but as I started researching for new technology which could overcome the biggest challenge in the fashion category, in the eCommerce model, where the rejects after delivery is as high as 30%, purely because of the nature of the buying behavior & size match, I came across a cool technology and methodology, which is as hilarious as:

Technology : Webcam Measurements for Buying Clothes Online

Like any other Success story, the technology UPcload, also started through addressing the pain area after self actualization & returning the delivery of the online shopped cloth, by the founders, purely because of the mismatch of size. They found an opportunity and brought a solution through two years of effort, which is now spreading as a wildfire, with it’s originality & fabulous methodology of scanning the body online through a webcam & holding a CD. UPcload uses your webcam, and here is the clever part—a CD or DVD—and a whole load of image processing, to work out your exact measurements. You stand in front of your webcam, in reasonably tight-fitting clothes, holding the CD in front of your navel. The system takes your picture and then runs it through object recognition processing. Since the system knows how big a CD is, it can work out your relative body dimensions. This technology is here to bring the much required revolution while shopping for your fashion line merchandise.

The discussion with Asaf Moses, Founder of UPcload, was totally a visionary one, he is set to change the online shopping experience and has been very optimistic with the soft launch in Germany & set to open shops in US now. UPcload has started seeing it’s adaptability from various leading platform and he quotes “It means we can suggest clothing ideas to people that they may never have thought of before. The program is using your body shape to suggest genuinely new ideas to people rather than simply suggesting on the basis of your historic buying pattern. It is like having your best friend with you.”

Such, inventions, innovation & explorations would only, make the online shopping experience more exciting & realistic. This would strategically be very beneficial for fashionable clothing line, especially when it comes to experimentation of new trends, fads in the fashion line. With this technology we would see more and more people experimenting. Also, such technology would make certain lines more accessible & open to the broader market base, using body shape, it  would enable to see yourself with new trends & even more, going forward you could ask your friends  through social networking sites. This business model would work more or less in the similar way to PayPal for financial transaction; a user could actually create his or her profile through their site and save it online, and use measurement while shopping online.

Takes for eCommerce Industry

  • Measurement technology would change the online buying experience of the shopper and reduce the rejects 
  • Increase experimentation leading to move on perception on trends to trial, with the blend of social commerce, would only increase the market base by cross-Category  adaptation in the fashion apparel category.

Business Model: ‘s Changing sourcing Model

Success stories are always born from the opportunity of gaps, and so is another example, which was the winner of TechCrunch DISRUPT in Bejing,

During the founder Jonathan’s  education days in China, he was fascinated with the cost arbitrage to US, he went on to set up a shop in United States, sourcing Bags & other accessories from china, soon he found himself sailing on the ugly side of the sail, not because of the cost, but the quantity. The question here is, do you have so many customers to exhaust your procurement, which soon would be a dead investment in terms of inventory. He found an opportunity, in the entire sail where he was not alone & there were many small retailers, which his new platform could cater too, in sourcing through group buying. This model is now the version 2.0 when compared with, which too is sourcing model from china., found opportunity in sourcing for all the small retailers in United States through group buying, hand picking goods for their customers, walk through the journey of procurement & selection, quality evaluation & many more attributes, making the sourcing site the most effective platform for it’s small customer & adding the flavor of personalization. The value in the model is creating a platform where various small retailers could queue the order for the bulk pick up from china, as like the founder, not everybody would be able to relinquish the quantity procured, even though you have the cost advantage.

The Learning from the model is their personalized touch which makes every customer of their feel of being in China and procuring goods, through Video, high definition pictures on the journey of purchasing and Account manager who liaison with their customers, understanding the requirement & taking care of the order.

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Takes for eCommerce Industry

  • Enhancing the online shopping experience with more digital aids like the high definition videos & pictures, which could bridge the decision making process of the real life

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Best Practices of one, can’t be true for all: Balancing Regionalization with Globalization is the key

From the world of technology to theories of Marketing, everything revolves around the Best Practices and Principles; we the professionals, iterate, refer and suggest to the ecosystem, where we belong, quite often. We love to throw the jargon, drop names when it comes to weighing our decision on others. Do we ever try to think on the ‘Recipe To Success’ being the same everywhere, where the consumer behavior, buying patterns, rules & regulations, paradigms defer and in some case we see it changing even within the boundaries.

Usually, in the case of technology (either in the form of consumer technologies or enterprise level) conceptualized in the developed countries, flow into the developing countries as one form or the other, Best Practices, no doubt India & China are the growth engines for these companies, but are they doing enough to penetrate deeper, to achieve broader marketer, where the actual buck lays. No doubt, first mover customers evolving out of the growth engine and spreading their wings through the developed nation, adopt with the best practices sooner, thanks to their operational demand & deeper pockets, but what about the segment which is untapped and are so called gold mines,  where the affordability is not a question but adaptation & reach rules over.

Lets’ play around with some examples, Apple, no doubt Indian market waited for long for their products, it took the company some time to open their shops, to have their innovative products up for grabs. In spite of non-availability, consumers in India used all their way out to own & experience the Apple mobile handsets, either through reaching out to their friends in US or Singapore or wriggled through eBay or Amazon to have it. The question at this point, which comes in mind, Shouldn’t the company have kept the growth engines in their priority list, for consumption. The adverse reaction to it led to duped Apple stores in China, black marketing & in some cases, usage of patches to unlock the locked version. The essence is very strong, availability to fight piracy & creating accessibility for the brand to increase the much required presence.

Honda, the renowned car brand playing in the band of premium segment took around 15 years to crack the strategy in terms of price, variant & go-to market in terms of ‘Brio’ and bringing the price of ‘City’ to make it accessible, after the competition had stepped in with a variant tagged made for India with made in India, in terms of Toyota ‘Etios’ and planned it for other emerging countries for exploring the markets with similar behavior.

We are now seeing a trend where in companies not only bringing in technology, but a technology which is closer to its customers but made available locally to play in the price variant, companies like ABB into the power generation infrastructure is in line & planning to set up their manufacturing. Volvo, which is into the commercial vehicle segment redesigned its commercial vehicles to suit the country requirement, giving them an edge and much required market share against the competition. The take away is being closer to customer not only in terms of cost to customer but also in terms of product configuration, manifestation & adaptability.

No doubt, the way economies are shifting from the growth centers which were economies of  scale, manpower & talent once, to the consumption buckets in the value chain. In other words, where India & China were once known as the center for lower cost & talent pool, which helped many of the development companies in IT sector to move in, are the epicenter of growth engine for consumption of the same developed product. So it is very important today, to have consumable products close to their tastes and preferences, which were produced for the developed economies, to capitalize and accomplish the value chain or use the same talent pool which developed, maintained & released for other countries, for building the value proposition for these regions.

Google which never loses a chance, and tops the chart for drawing a parallel in regionalization, have been able to crack the country wise products, through their strategy of reach, if they can’t open a shop, they implants their personnel to tap, very recently, I have seen lot of their openings in the very remote urban places too, to achieve the objective in being close to their user and tap the untapped.

As spoken & manifested in the form of ‘Triangle’ in explaining the markets, companies have now exhausted the top most part and are in the phase of Mid size laying in the middle, where ‘The Best Practices’ still holds good to a extent but the bottom most portion of triangle, where the broader marketer exist, is where   “Adaptation & Adoption, customer centric strategy using ‘The Adopted Practices’  becomes the value proposition and are the key for the Gold Mines of the untapped segment.”

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