When a company enters the digital realm, many of the barriers of the physical world go away. Resource constraints, such as the cost of raw materials, storage, and production, dissipate. Often, the variable costs of creating digital products are minimal and the possibilities of quickly scaling a business are immense. All of the sudden, extra resources (read: money) are available to bring new products to the market and get them into the hands of consumers.
With few barriers, what then becomes the biggest challenge in the digital realm? With the speed of innovation and a low cost of entry, the biggest challenge is now how to stand out above the crowd and give the consumer what they want, when they want.
For CSPs, the opportunity is there…
Communication service providers (CSPs) obviously straddle the physical and digital worlds. They build out their networks and retail businesses in the physical realm, but command the digital world when it comes to the services they offer.
Understandably, CSPs are in the unique position of knowing everything about their customers – from their precise location and the data they use to the sites they visit and the apps they open. And they have direct, ongoing relationships with the majority of these customers, with at least a monthly correspondence in the form of a bill.
Because of this, CSPs have the ability to deliver offers and services, and upsell their customers with unparalleled precision. And as operators move to real-time OSS/BSS systems, as many are, they now have the capability to do all this immediately.
It’s time to get smarter
Real-time offer management as a concept is not new, but the use of truly contextual and intelligent data by a CSP to promote its own services, or even those of its partners, is still emerging. Now as data becomes the most important commodity for a CSP and they continue to offer additional cloud services while figuring out ways to partner with or stave off OTT players, the time is right to get smarter.
Here are a few of the dimensions available to telcos for generating dynamically priced, real-time offers
Let’s take data pricing as an example. How many CSPs are offering dynamic upsells based on real-time elements such as available network capacity, GPS location, usage history, churn risk, and customer sentiment – as well as other obvious attributes, like service quotas remaining?
Looking at network capacity alone, there is a huge opportunity. Operators want to stimulate more activity and make their network assets work harder while at the same time earning more revenue. They already have been offering peak and off-peak pricing for decades now, but it is now possible to manage pricing in smarter, more innovative ways.
The right offer makes it easy
The reality is, if an offer is right, consumers will buy it, regardless of whether or not they really need it – and the evidence for this is clear.
Take Steam, Valve Corporation’s online digital video game distribution service. They do over $1 billion dollars a year in revenue. They are known within the gaming community for having regular sales, sometimes slashing prices by up to 95%. Their sales are often around vacation periods when many gamers are preparing for some epic gaming sessions. But here is the interesting statistic: 37% of Steam games have never been played. Consumers are buying games because the prices are so attractive, but they never even play them most of the time.
Steam sales are revered in the gaming community. Source: Steampowered.com
Apple is also doing incredible things with its app store in selling not only apps, but also micro transactions that are often part of discounted promotions.
In 2014, players spent $1.3 billion dollars in the game Candy Crush, a game that prompts the player to buy more lives every time they run out.
Who has ever up-sized a burger combo to get a bigger drink and then only drank half of it?
These examples aren’t even particularly intelligent ones but they all have one thing in common: Precise insight into what the customer wants. But few CSPs are applying these same principals and are missing out on a slice of a $47 billion dollar real-time offer pie.
And add a dash of creativity
With subscriber numbers plateauing in many mature markets, CSPs are looking to sell more services to their existing customers. By leveraging real time OSS/BSS platforms and implementing dashes of creativity, CSPs have the ability to give subscribers exactly what they want, when they want it. Achieving this is a win for the consumer and a win for the operator too.
Real-time contextual offers are a win for the consumer as well as the operators
So really, when it comes right down to it, in the digital world, the only challenge is to sell more in innovative, smarter ways.
In addition, here are related, recent announcements from SAP: