A year ago, Forrester fielded our Q3 2010 Global Mobile Online Survey. We interviewed more than 200 executives in charge of their companies’ mobile strategies around the globe (40% in the US, 40% in Europe, and 20% in the rest of the world). You can see the results from last year’s survey here.
To help eBusiness executives benchmark and mature their mobile consumer strategies, we’re updating this survey.
Planning and organizing for the use of mobile technologies is a complex task. Some players are laggards and think they still need to get the basics of their online presence right, while others are clearly ahead of the curve. Yet two questions we consistently hear are: “Where is my organization compared with others in the use of mobile?” and “How can we mature our mobile consumer approach?”
Here’s how you can help:
If you’re in charge of your company's mobile consumer initiative or if you’re familiar with it, then please take this survey.
Here at Forrester we’ve spend a lot of time this year evangelizing a new approach to multichannel commerce – one that we call agile commerce. The fundamentals are outlined here in Brian Walker’s excellent doc, “Welcome to the Era of Agile Commerce.” But in short, and to quote Brian . . .
“Traditional ways of describing multichannel commerce no longer work because customers don't interact with companies from a 'channel' perspective. Customers now use a rapidly evolving set of devices as a means of engaging across touchpoints, which they don't distinguish from the brand or business.”
What this means to most eBusiness execs across Europe is an explosion in the number of touchpoints they now have to consider in their customer interactions. It’s no longer just about managing a store chain and a website as two separate entities. Increasingly shoppers are turning to social networks, mobile price comparison applications, tablets, and more and they are demanding an increasing level of cross touchpoint flexibility as they browse, choose, shop, and even return products.
Alongside our latest eBusiness Maturity Model, I’ve been speaking to eBusiness executives across Europe to gauge where their organizations are in the evolution toward agile commerce.
"What's that?" I hear you say. "What's emotional?" Well, don't worry — that was the megatrend that stumped most people. But it shouldn't, because everywhere we look, eBusiness professionals are striving to creating more emotionally engaging transactional experiences.
Consider online retail, which is still the most visible form of eBusiness. Creating an eBusiness experience that's less of a chore than traditional shopping is easy. But creating an experience that inspires some of the positive emotions associated with traditional shopping at its best — security, status, even fun — is much, much harder. However, it can be done. For example, the idea to write this blog post came from Mag Nation's "magdentifier," which asks some fun questions before showing you a range of magazines tailored to your interests. For me, playing with the magdentifier was fun. For the first time, it made me consider giving a magazine subscription as a gift.
In April, I published research about the importance of innovation in eBusiness, and how eBusiness professionals can prioritize the many opportunities that lay before them.
To harness these innovation opportunities more effectively, eBusiness leaders must learn how to prototype more quickly, so they can more quickly and cheaply learn what works, and what needs further rapid adaption.
No video showcases these concepts more effectively than this one, from Nordstam Innovation Labs, which I found on Eric Ries' Startup Lessons Learned blog. Enjoy.
Less than a week after purchasing Endeca, Oracle extended its acquisition run with the announcement that it was purchasing Montana-based RightNow Technologies for $1.5 billion.
This deal is particularly interesting because, as the Wall St Journal notes, it marks the first time Oracle has bought a company that sells application programs accessed primarily over the Internet as software as a service. This is being widely interpreted as a shot across Salesforce’s bow.
RightNow has a lot to offer Oracle. We rate RightNow as a leader in our WAVE for CRM customer service suites. Along with salesforce.com, we called out RightNow as a SaaS solution that was faster to deploy and easier to change than traditional on-premise offerings. RightNow is well positioned to give Oracle a customer service offering for the mid market.
Like all M&A, there will be growing pains. The companies have different strengths, sizes, and cultures.
Success will very much rely upon how effectively Oracle can differentiate between their many customer service products to ensure their portfolio targeting is optimized. With this acquisition and previous ones - such as ATG and InQuira - there is overlapping customer service technology. It will be critical to differentiate between products such as knowledge management and chat. This will not be an easy task in this complex and ever-changing customer service technology landscape.
A result of the recent and continuing rash of government regulations is a renewed desire on the part of banks and credit unions to drive new sources of revenue and profitability. One outcome of drive for revenue is a renewed interest in cross-selling to deepen customer relationships.
Cross-Sell Strategy Is Not New
Cross-selling as a strategy is nothing new. Wells Fargo has been a champion of the concept for decades. Cross sell efforts in general have been marginally successful, with the average bank owning just 2.1 financial products out of nearly seven owned per household. The struggles of cross-selling to customers are two-fold. On the consumer side, there is a natural inclination that one provider cannot have the best product in all situations. On the bank side, organizational silos and a general failure to appreciate the impact of effective cross-selling on metrics like customer retention hinder success.
The Elements Of Effective Cross-Selling
So what makes for successful cross-selling? A well-defined strategy is an important but relatively easy part of the question. An analysis of the problem shows that execution is what separates success from also-rans. Effective cross-sell execution requires four key elements:
With the holidays rapidly approaching, eBusiness executives face many a sleepless night as their eCommerce infrastructure comes under attack from hordes of festive online shoppers. These customers are buying online to avoid the crowds, queues and stress of the mall and they demand nothing short of an exemplary online experience. Slow pages, site outages, and checkout problems will at best cause frustration as loyal customers switch channel to the call center or brick and mortar stores, however most customers will simply take their business elsewhere. These customers will end up buying online from your competitors, but before they do, you can bet they will express their dismay on Twitter, Facebook, blogs and even through your own online reviews. The damage will extend beyond the online channel and the impact on brand reputation will be widespread and long lasting.
No more aware of this than anyone are eBusiness executives. Q4 sales will either make or break entire annual revenue goals and the c-suite have zero tolerance whatsoever for site outages or transactional problems online during the holidays. Jobs are on the line.
Only last week Targets head of online retailing, Steve Eastman left the company after a high profile site outage back in September left shoppers staring at this screen all day long as they frantically tried to get their hands on an exclusive and limited range of luggage, clothes and house wares from Italian designer Missoni.
eBusiness in Australia is in a period of extraordinary development. On a near-daily basis, we see the launch of determined new retailers — from fashion eyewear vendor Sneaking Duck to subscription pet food provider Paws For Life — as well as new services to support the sector, like Want It Now's same-day delivery system. Yet ample "blue sky" remains for entrepreneurs who are willing to take a crack at this sector. Of these countless opportunities, four come to mind immediately:
A personal finance-management system. Mint still hasn't come to Australia. The Australian Taxation Office's e-Tax is still a painful way to submit tax returns. You still never meet someone who says "I use ANZ Money Manager". Saasu and Xero still support businesses but not individuals. If anyone stepped up to offer in Australia what Mint offers in the US and Canada today, thousands of customers — incuding me — would rush to get onboard, and Australian's finance-sector eBusiness professionals would have a collective heart-attack.
When it comes to the top business strategies for North American insurance carriers (and agents), selling more to the same customer is a top initiative. Because, what's a better way to grow revenue and profit in a tough market than to sell more insurance to your proven customers? And thanks to big media budgets, it’s easy to see lots of these cross-selling campaigns in action, from the practical take of Allstate’s Shop Less, Get More campaign to more humorous approaches with Progressive’s Flo and Nationwide’s World’s Greatest Spokesman (among others), duking it out over insurance bundles and multi-product discounts.
With all this enthusiasm, just how successful are insurance ebusiness at cross-selling? In our report, “Making Online Insurance Cross-Sell Initiatives Work”, that went live on the Forrester website today, it turn out that sales performance varies wildly between the ten US insurance companies evaluated, with the best cross-sellers sharing four key characteristics. And it’s not just the best performing carriers that share traits—consumers likely to purchase multiple insurance coverages from a single carrier have their own set of common characteristics around income, age, and even where they live in the US.
So, what can insurance ebusiness teams do to improve their cross-selling performance? We outline nine tactics such as including leveraging opportunities to promote insurance when using interactive tools to when and how the cross-sale offer is made during the online experience. Along with auditing internal practices against our checklist, a roadmap for the remainder of 2011 is offered that, if followed, will let insurance providers start 2012 with an effective cross selling strategy.
We are in a highly disruptive time in the world of commerce technology. Consumers are interacting in increasingly unique ways empowered with ubiquitous Internet connectivity with fun and easy to use interfaces and tools. Their expectations are impacting how companies market, manage their supply chains, organize, and measure the business. The needs of “the platform” seem to evolve from one week to the next. What we used to call eCommerce Platforms are now not only powering webistes, but also mobile sites, mobile apps, call centers, and in-store or in-branch interfaces that both customers and staff are using – sometimes together.
But there is an even more fundamental change about to occur – the agile commerce platform. The agile commerce platform will expose commerce as a service (CaaS) to support all touchpoints with customers. A services enabled platform which will enable eBusiness & Channel Strategy leaders to drive differentiation, respond to changing customer expectations, and enable creative business relationships to support business adaptation and facilitate growth*. Commerce solution providers from across the map are building CaaS solutions.