This guest blog is written by our partners at Vincit, formerly known as Bonsky.
The world of digital sales is undergoing revolutionary change with never-before-seen scale, speed, and complexity. The old ways of selling and serving customers and delivering products are no longer valid for many brands. This revolution in digital sales has created new global competition where customer experience is crucial to success. As a result, companies who formerly lagged are finally taking steps toward digital transformation. Leading brands understand that this is not only the era of technology, but also the era of the customer. Technology is needed, but customer understanding is everything. This is a wake-up call to build a winning digital sales machine and put experience at the center of your business.
In this new normal, the only sustainable way to gain a competitive advantage is based on the speed at which an organization can respond to changing customer and market needs. Merchants need a high level of organizational agility and other dynamic capabilities to deliver on customers’ expectations of continuous availability and adaptiveness, as well as their increased interest and concern about ethics, sustainability, and corporate transparency.
Building a winning digital sales machine means product brands must find new ways of enabling success with their products and services, together with their customers and partners. Therefore, product brands must seek to make it easy for customers to experience the brand. The omnichannel environment of digital, physical, and social channels is built on interaction. Experiences create value through these interactions. In this experience economy, a compelling product experience is critical, and dynamic organizational capabilities that enable amazing customer experiences need to stand out.
Enabling product experience for digital sales
Product experience is very much a journey, as customers shop and research products in multiple places, and potentially over a period of time. Leading brands understand that value is created based on interaction and collaboration in the buying and selling ecosystem. Omnichannel increases the need for contextualized and relevant experiences for customers. These different touchpoints in the ecosystem represent opportunities to form and strengthen the bond between the brand and its customers and business partners. These are the moments when the product experience needs to stand out!
To deliver superior product experiences, sellers must have the appropriate functional capabilities in place to create and manage these product experiences that drive digital sales. With the right capabilities and resources, brands will have a solid base on which to build digital experiences that lead to sales.
Enablement by technology
First-class product experiences need fuel to come alive. Consistent and relevant product information representing the brand is the fuel to support sales of products and product-related services. To create a unified view and to control product information across the organization, different technologies must integrate or interoperate to meet business and stakeholder requirements. Typical technologies that play a role in managing the product experience include ERP, DAM, and PIM systems.
Digital architecture and dexterity
Compelling product content representing the brand is not much help if it cannot be efficiently delivered to different digital sales channels in the right form and at the right time. In addition to product information, product availability, learning materials, dynamic pricing, delivery tracking, and more, complete the experience Therefore, product brands should have a sufficient capability to develop a digital architecture that supports flexible and scalable ways of delivering the product experience, and that offers seamless integration for internal and external teams involved in managing product experiences. Product brands also need dexterity to be both efficient today and to be adaptable for coping with changing demands of tomorrow.
Compelling product content is driven by context. Customers experience products across digital, physical, and social channels, and to provide the right information, products need to comply with the requirements for each channel. For example, social selling via Instagram has different product listing requirements than a B2B sales portal. Therefore, brands need to be able to easily accommodate channel-specific requirements while avoiding inconsistency across channels – as well as across regional markets.
Creating compelling product content requires a capable team with the motivation to strive for delivering better product experiences. Cross-functional end-to-end business teams ensure that all aspects of the brand, products, customers, and business are considered when crafting the product/brand experience. As products and services are the tools companies use to serve their stakeholder needs, product experience should be considered a competitive advantage and become an organization-wide endeavor. For product brands, this is especially important since the whole identity of the company is built on the brand and its message.
Building a winning digital sales machine
Building a winning digital sales machine comes down to creating value for the customer through field sales operations, supporting the partners to learn and excel in sales, and moving from selling products to selling new services. In all of these, the common enabler for increasing sales, customer experience, and growth is the compelling product experience.
Technology, digital architecture, the way of working (processes), and experience delivery are some of the core capabilities needed for first-class product experiences. However, it is all about matching organizational capabilities and resources with those of customers and internal stakeholders across all touchpoints. To win, you must understand everyone’s needs, the way they operate, and what they need to succeed.
It’s also crucial to understand that the real value in a compelling product experience is not created inside the organization in certain systems or with only technology — you also must understand your internal stakeholders’ world and enable them for success. Only then is it possible to build dynamic organizational capabilities for product experience management and find a match across the digital sales field for crafting a memorable experience.
Technological capability creation is only the start of your product experience journey to encourage rethinking value creation in digital sales. However, by enabling your development with a strong technology and process base, the next steps — and capabilities needed — to deliver a first-class customer and product experience will be easier to take.
Learn more about Vincit’s PXM implementation methodology here.