The biggest takeaway for companies in the past 18 months is that most of the global population is shopping and getting their services online in one form or other. We all know that the way people shop has moved more towards digital over the years and this has been accelerated by the pandemic significantly.
According to a global CX survey conducted by Harvard Business Publishing has indicated that there exist significant gaps between organizational CX priorities and actual implementations.
For example, 99% of respondents approved that bringing a high-quality customer experience was vital to business performance. Yet less than one-third of executives responded that their company were very effective in providing a good customer experience.
Another gap was reported, where maximum respondents believed CX plays a important role in business performance, while only two-thirds of organizations had a clear, coherent customer experience strategy understood across the company.
According to the latest research from SAP examining retail spending both pre and mid pandemic discovered three big takeaways. First, people started shopping online more to avoid crowds and stay safe, including new segments like baby boomers who embraced the convenience of digital channels. Second segment was ease and convenience where people are shopping online for food and getting it delivered, they’re also buying apparel and accessories online. Finally, the price factor-based discovery – research suggested that if companies wanted to attract baby boomers to shop online, they need to offer them a discount or deal; on the other hand, people younger than 57 years old believe that online shops already offered the best prices.
With the buying patterns, social media sentiment and primary surveys – we could infer that people want more personalized products and services now more than ever before. So, when customers share their data with companies, they need to leverage this data to understand customers behavior better.
What SAP has to offer?
With business process intelligence (BPI) portfolio, the SAP Process Insights solution empowers companies to analyze and improve their real-world business processes including ‘customer experience’. Infosys, EY and Deloitte and Limited are the initial strategic partners working with the BPI portfolio from SAP to help organizations transform. SAP’s Business process intelligence (BPI) solutions is aimed at providing end-to-end capabilities for strategic process transformation and the reinvention of customer experiences. In a way it is helping organizations build foundation for the future Intelligent Enterprise.
SAP powered Signavio is trying to deliver customer excellence by helping companies design customer journey models for touch point improvements. They’re also helping align company processes to customer experiences as well as s hare journeys for feedback and experience improvements.
When it comes to customer experience in commerce(B2B), SAP has revamped it’s SAP Upscale Commerce with built-in AI, retailers can provide personalized offerings based on a 360-degree view of their customer from social sentiment and purchase data. SAP Upscale Commerce is integrated with SAP S/4HANA to help ensure customer-facing experiences work with back-end finance, logistics and fulfilment systems to deliver a smooth customer experience. With this, SAP is offering an intelligent selling engine that delivers engaging storefronts while optimizing for sales and profit, with the ability to more rapidly create mobile-first shopping experiences to meet the changing expectations of their customers.
SAP strongly believes that now a days, brand really has to listen to their customers – digital technologies have made it simpler to capture and interpret customer sentiment towards a brand, and thus they need to fulfill on the brand promise. It could mean having the right merchandise, or having the right delivery time, the right communication method. The brands that don’t deliver on their brand promise, will eventually lose their customers, and those customers will go to competitors, and, and if the competitor can deliver on the brand promise, they’ll stay with the competitor.
Taking an example of a global personal care brand, SAP has helped them embrace digital customer experience management by transforming their ecosystem powered by SAP commerce Cloud and SAP Spartacus. There is another example of SAP helping a global sunglasses brand which used the SAP Commerce Cloud solution to establish end-to-end digital commerce processes which helped them capture customer experience as well. The technology is designed to handle high volumes of data(Customer data especially), traffic, and orders and supports their operations as both as a direct-to-consumer company as well as a traditional wholesale brand manufacturer.
With solutions and services, SAP is helping organizations take control of the customer journey, drive world-class omnichannel customer experiences, and create a competitive edge by choosing to start with easily configurable building blocks or create completely custom commerce experiences. SAP has also been quite proactive in terms of solving customer pain points – To meet individual customer challenges, the SAP Customer Experience team in Canada recently hosted a hackathon, in which teams of product experts and solution integration partners battled to create brand new online shopping experiences based on specific, real-world client requirements for fashion, automotive, and retail.
What are Vendors/Partners saying?
- According to partners, omni channel customer engagement has been a top desirable aspect of end to end customer engagement and there is a growing trend in the industry to have a 360 deg presence in the market.
- They have also emphasized that SAP commerce solutions are a good fit for the core of customer experience platform and around it, there would be some other applications as well, like, marketing, and especially recommendation engines for personalization localization etc.
- Partners have also talked about how important is to understand the cases for which customers are turning to online channels, for smaller more frequent purchases, versus the bulk orders. I think understanding this trend will really help retailers shift their inventory management strategies. So, brands and retailers would really have to pay attention to these data points to customize their strategy depending on their product portfolio.
- There is a strong insight that, the shift to online shopping especially among older cohorts presents a unique opportunity for brands and retailers to engage with new online customers in ways they never could before. Companies that do not offer these customers a seamless online experience today, would risk having them go back in store, and losing that critical insight to consumer behavior that online channels offer.
- Vendors are trying to focus on concepts like contextual customer experience, initiatives focused on localization and personalization product recommendation engine
- When it comes to the employee side of enabling CX projects, it’s evident that establishing the ground rules of communication and expectations of response times, availability, and general communication across the teams and client is most critical.
- SAP and partners agree that designing and executing a customer experience journey is not always easy. It requires prioritizing ruthlessly, sequencing initiatives, challenging old assumptions, and working with an open, evidence-based mindset to ensure continuous value for its customers.
In view of changing and continuously evolving customer experience, leading brands need to successfully interpret the significance of customer data. Latest research from The Economist show that 68% of companies pursuing digital transformations are the ones creating a single view of their customers and across all their data sources and to investing in digital platforms that enhance customer experience and business agility. Companies are starting to vouch for a new way of looking at customer experience, by really making an entire enterprise journey to put the customer first across all of the departments and putting the customer needs first and in the middle of everything the business is about.
Companies including SAP reiterates about the value of the learning experience they’ve gained when they help companies go through any kind of digital transformation. Customer experience is not just a about the technology aspect of it, but it’s also a lot to do with the business, and how the business has transformed customer touchpoints and viewpoints.
Similar to everything else in the post-pandemic world, a personalized, directed & seamless customer experience starts with data and ends with pertinent action.