Digital innovation isn’t a passing trend or buzzword. It’s about using the power of digital technology to innovate your business and create value. That’s what will ensure you remain competitive in today’s unpredictable business environment. For B2B e-commerce, it’s about using technology to create outstanding customer experiences.
Here are five secret ingredients to help you achieve that end goal.
- Know your digital transformation goals
- Get your team's input
- Understand your customer needs and consider how to improve customer experience
- Review the technology solutions on the market and choose the ones that best fit into your business
- Encourage a digital-first culture
1. Know your digital transformation goals
What are your goals for digitally transforming your business? What are you aiming to achieve with the project? Once you’ve defined your goals for the project and aligned them with your overall business strategy, you can move onto ‘the doing’ (AKA how you’ll digitally transform).
Some goals could include:
- Improve your end user experience to boost customer satisfaction and retention
- Enhance the efficiency of certain processes to reduce operational cost
- Boost the visibility of processes and systems so decision-making is quicker and easier
- Gain access to in-depth business intelligence/analytics to gain a competitive advantage
2. Get your team’s input
Without your team’s buy-in, your digital transformation project will likely be full of unnecessary friction. Also, how will you know which processes need to be transformed and whether a specific piece of tech is the right choice without consulting your team?
These are, after all, the people whose daily working lives will be directly impacted by these changes.
Getting your team’s input can:
- Reveal which processes and systems are working well and which aren’t
- Uncover new ideas you might not have thought of…
- …as well as different points of view
- Help your team feel more involved and accountable for the project’s success
3. Understand your customer needs and consider how to improve customer experience
How well do you know your customers and their needs? You need to really understand them if you want to know exactly how to improve their customer experience (CX). A good CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system can store your essential customer data in one location and great CRM data management practices will ensure your data quality remains high.
If your CRM system is integrated with your commerce platform, this data can flow freely between the two solutions - which ensures maximum productivity and visibility. Some ways you can use this data to improve your CX include offering a personalised experience, such as:
- Product/service recommendations based on past interactions on your e-commerce platform or with customer service (e.g. ‘You may also like…’)
- Bundle suggestions based on what similar customer profiles have purchased (e.g. ‘Other customers also bought…’)
- Search results tailored to the individual customer and their profile e.g. what they’ve searched for and interacted with on your website in the past
- Customer service agents knowing a customer’s details without the customer having to tell them (a CRM-commerce integration is key here)
- Customer service agents being empowered with enough key information to offer tailor-made solutions to a customer’s problems
- Marketing materials addressing customers by their name (e.g. using personalisation tokens in your emails rather than a generic ‘Dear customer’)
- Marketing emails that speak the customer’s language - in other words, it only includes content and offers the recipient will be interested in (achievable when you’ve segmented your email database)
4. Review the technology solutions on the market and choose the ones that best fit into your business
When you know what your customers want and how you can improve your experience to match (or exceed) their expectations, it’s time to look at what technology solutions can help.
The key thing to remember is to choose technology that will complement your existing processes and systems, not the other way around. Look for tech that offers the scalability and flexibility you need to drive your business forward.
Some examples of modern e-commerce tech include:
- A Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system - to store customer data
- Artificial Intelligence (AI) - to intelligently use customer data and automatically offer product recommendations, personalised offers etc based on context
- Machine learning - to automate repetitive processes and free up time for your team
- Internet of Things (IoT) - to connect devices and offer real-time insights into process and system performance
- A commerce platform - to ensure your customers can easily find what they need on the device of their choice and connect your digital storefront to the back offices
- A Content Management System (CMS) - to help you deliver the right messages to the right people at the right time
- A Product Information Management (PIM) system - to centralise inventory management and ensure customers can always access clear, accurate product information (e.g. descriptions, imagery, stock levels)
5. Encourage a digital-first culture
As we mentioned at the start of this section, digital transformation isn’t just about digital technology. There’s also the ‘transformation’ side which is all about culture. Those digitally disruptive companies who we see killing it out there (Amazon, Uber, Netflix etc) - they go to market with new products very quickly and those products send CX quality through the roof. What’s the secret?
They’ve built the right culture. This is what the right culture consists of:
- Encourages innovation and for all new ideas to flourish, no matter how disruptive they might seem
- A customer-centric mindset - it’s all about the customer, always
- A team of the right people to lead and be accountable for your innovative efforts
- People who are unafraid of ‘outsiders’ - if you haven’t got the expertise in-house, you must be willing to bring in innovators from outside your company. E.g. recruit for new employees or work with a consultancy
Are you ready to start your digital innovation journey?
Hopefully, the five secrets covered in this blog have inspired you to start your digital business innovation. Or perhaps you’re already in the midst of an innovation project and you want to ensure you’re on the right path.
Our guide to successful digital transformation will show you how you can innovate your e-commerce business. Learn more about everything in this blog post, plus what the 21st century B2B customer expects and how that ties into a transformation strategy. Check out our guide to successful digital transformation in B2B e-commerce via the button below.