We tend to categorize online companies according to the industry in which they operate. CitiBank is banking, Booking.com is travel, Vodafone is telecommunications and so on. Although the differences between these mega companies are numerous, they all use tactics from the online retail world to maintain their success.
We held a webinar in mid-June with Sucharita Mulpuru, Forrester VP, Principal Analyst, who taught us what every great online company needs to know.
1. Companies need to think differently: online is replacing the physical environment which, for many companies that have both offline and online presences, is causing a cannibalization of business. Online is taking an increasingly growing part within the customer’s lifecycle. Improvement in connectivity and devices are bringing more customers online, and the more time they spend online, the more likely they are to consume online.
2. Customer expectations are disrupted. More and more companies in the online space offer ultra-speedy services, all-year-round promotions and very attractive cancellation policies that they’ve never offered before. Meeting these new customer expectations causes higher cost structures that weren’t necessarily planned for.
3. IT resources will be challenged: customers have access to digital content on multiple devices, not only mobile. Today’s companies can have their services available for customers on wearables, voice activated technology, “internet of things” technology and a multitude of device types and sizes. Most companies need to decide which devices and technologies they should invest in.
4. Mobile use cases need to be addressed differently: for example, customers use their mobile devices when onsite in a physical business and/or they may access a company’s mobile website or app from their own home. The different scenarios need to be supported by the type of features and functionality that are offered to the customer.
5. Focus on must-have features:
- Site navigation: predictive search, relevancy for search results, taxonomy should be user friendly and adjust to both PC and desktop.
- Detailed descriptions, recommendations and reviews of product and services – make sure they are accurate and look good on different devices. Strive to answer all the questions to which customers are seeking answers.
- Drop-off points: “we don’t know what we don’t know”. Have a solution that can help you identify and surface problems.
According to Mulpuru, there are many points of potential failure, however “the ability to reduce the time in identifying problems and quickly being able to adjust to solve these problems is hugely valuable, and absolutely something that drives incremental [revenue uplift] and overall success.”
The full webinar “The new commerce paradigm and its must-have digital features” with guest speaker Sucharita Mulpuru, Forrester VP, Principal Analyst will be available, for a limited time, on our website.