Commerce is no longer just about selling to customers—it’s about businesses earning the right to be part of a continuous stream of customer engagement.
According to new research from IT services provider Mindtree and Vanson Bourne, only 28 percent of decision-makers from about 900 companies surveyed said their organizations are investing in personalization features that consumers want, including improved search and compare/aggregate functions.
Instead, they're focusing on features such as shopping lists, wish lists and social features.
The report, Winning in the Age of Personalization, also found that when businesses get the equation right, great results follow. Just over three-quarters (78 percent) of consumers reported that personalization features prompted them to purchase products they've previously bought and 74 percent said that personalization encouraged them to buy products and services they have never purchased in the past. The study examined more than 6,000 consumers overall.
It's no secret that matching customer requirements—and demands—is an increasingly difficult task in today's fast-changing business and tech environment. One of the most intriguing conclusions from the study was that enterprise leaders are frequently focused on the wrong things.
"Many of today's personalization approaches are ineffective since they are based on a siloed view of the customer," said Radha R, executive vice president and head of Digital Business at Mindtree.
Too often, business leaders lose sight of the fact that the ultimate goal is to create value for consumers. In order to reach the promised land, it's essential to have the right data engine and digital underpinnings in place so that an organization can "target the right people, at the right time, in the right place, on the right device, with the right content,” she said.
Ultimately, it's about about assembling the data points to create a clear picture. This requires CIOs and other enterprise leaders to recognize how the intersection of various technologies—everything from beacons and RFID to legacy and social data—generate opportunities and new data points.
But, more importantly, it's all about breaking down data silos to gain an enriched view of customers from these various digital touch points; using context-weighted personalization algorithms to generate relevant content, offers and recommendations; and building out the IT framework to automatically deliver customized messages and offers to customers in a cross-channel, cross-device landscape.
The report concludes that companies must focus on four cornerstones of true digital transformation and success: creating digital customer experiences; digitizing the value chain across the front and back end; developing "sense-and-respond" systems; and shaping new, innovative business models and partnerships.
Make no mistake, it's critical to recognize that business is no longer about selling to customers but, rather, earning the right—if not privilege—to be part of a continuous stream of engagement.