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Moments Matter: Deliver Superb Customer Journeys with Smarter Commerce

  • By Maria Winans
  • Vice President of IBM Social Business Category and Industry Cloud Solutions Marketing
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Overview

What does it take to deliver a superb customer journey in today's globally connected and always-on world?
Learn how Smarter Commerce is letting businesses apply insights and data to reach and engage customers at every crucial touch point.

Table of Contents

Moments Matter: Deliver Superb Customer Journeys with Smarter Commerce
Smarter Commerce Matters
Innovation Matters
Insights Matter
Experience Matters
Connections Matter
Copyright

Moments Matter: Deliver Superb Customer Journeys with Smarter Commerce

Since IBM launched its Smarter Commerce initiative three years ago, we’ve seen companies across industries transform the way they buy, market, and sell products and services.

Why? Because they’re learning that the consumer—and we’re all consumers—is increasingly in charge. And every moment counts in the battle for customer loyalty and share of wallet.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve met with one of our clients and have heard that very phrase, “every moment counts.” And yet, people often reach out to me asking for a moment of my time. The request for just a “moment” is meant to convey, I think, a general acknowledgement that time is precious and that the person asking only requires the teeniest bit of mine. But I also think the expression wrongly conveys the notion that moments—because they’re small and often fleeting—don’t really amount to much.

Moments matter. In fact, moments matter a lot.

“Every single moment is an opportunity to meaningfully engage with an individual. But here’s the catch: moments matter only when they’re relevant to you. Nobody wants to be dumped into a market segment and made to feel indistinguishable from the 30,000 others in an email database, right? And I couldn’t care less about a special promotion for a product that doesn’t interest me. These kinds of campaigns give marketing a bad name and too often feel like an intrusion on my time.

That’s why I constantly tell our clients that amassing more data is not the point. The point is to use that data to drive meaningful, people-centric engagements—which is just another way of saying that you need to make every customer touch point matter to them. I love the idea of using big data to drive a more tailored and intimate relationship with your customer. Small details can turn into a very big story and very big profits in a hurry.

“If you need further evidence that moments matter, consider our growing need for instant gratification. Instant gratification is a way of concisely saying, “I’ll give you precisely one second of my time, and in return you’re going to knock my socks off.” Yes, knock my socks off. Jaded consumers that we are, we’ve come to expect superlative experiences. But as business leaders we struggle to deliver this experience in a reliable and scalable fashion. Whether delighting a customer in real time, reaching new markets, or collaborating instantly with partners and suppliers across the world, enterprises must exceed expectations (because “good enough” simply doesn’t cut it anymore) to achieve a competitive edge. And it’s not just about speed, it’s about the experience.

“Think about that: you have seconds to deliver to your customer the precise product she wants, in the manner she wants to receive it, all while making her feel good about the purchase by delivering exceptional service. Your customer is calling all of the shots. Our 2013 Global C-Suite Study, The Customer-Activated Enterprise1, spells this out in black-and white: CEOs say that customers come second only to the C-Suite (and therefore ahead of the board of directors) when it comes to influence on business strategy. I bet that anybody who made that prediction 10 years ago would have been laughed out of the room—and all the way to the bank.

Empowered with social and mobile technology, and an overabundance of choice, customers are more knowledgeable, more demanding, and less forgiving. Every moment must be meaningful and personalized and that is no small feat.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Maria Winans

Maria B Winans is Vice President, Worldwide Industry Cloud Solutions & Social Business Category Marketing, where she is responsible for helping IBM clients achieve overall business effectiveness with a solutions-centric approach creating value for the line-of-business.

Maria B Winans is Vice President, Worldwide Industry Cloud Solutions & Social Business Category Marketing, where she is responsible for helping IBM clients achieve overall business effectiveness with a solutions-centric approach creating value for the line-of-business.

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