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The Future of the Retail Store in the Omni-Channel Age

The Future of the Retail Store in the Omni-Channel Age[UPDATED] The Future of the Retail Store in the Omni-Channel Age is third in CSRA’s retail & omni-channel series, and it is especially relevant to Chief Digital Officers, who orchestrate profound organization change using digital technologies and processes. It also offers rare opportunity to high-stakes CMOs. Part1 of The Future of the Retail Store outlines several aspects of market disruption that are affecting retailers as a group, albeit by varying degrees. Part2 features examples of “reimagining retail” for mobile, banking, grocery, hardware and apparel “stores.”

“Future” provides practical examples for the main thesis carried through the series: retailers can thrive by thinking beyond “the product” and its selection, assortment, pricing, etc., because these have a decreasing impact on revenue and profit. Digital social enables customers and retailers to focus on how customers create value with products and services, so when properly used, social is a strong profit driver, and profits are what retailers need to survive and thrive. As examples illustrate, retailers can go with the “showrooming” trend by enabling customers to imagine and […]

Chicago-Style Innovation 2013 [Lightbank Innovation Day]

Lightbank logoChicago-Style Innovation is my notes from Lightbank Innovation Day, which took place on 9 May 2013 at the City Winery (presentations) and Lightbank’s offices (networking). Throughout the day, it was obvious that the Knowledge Economy’s Social Channel was unfolding; entrepreneurs’ startups are stripping off an increasing breadth of enterprise processes and using digital social software to improve them. For example, Needle’s platform creates experts in user (customer) use cases and outcomes that outperform anyone at retail; Fieldglass, HighGround, Fooda, oDesk and TalentBin take aim at various parts of human capital while Aon Hewitt showed how to practice enterprise innovation on the inside; DoubleDutch aims to [at long last] digitize trade shows and conferences through its platform’s geosocial functions. Sprout Social and Contently offered social tools.

Presenters Gian Fulgoni, J Schwan and Ramon De Leon shared valuable advice for entrepreneurs, investors and enterprise executives. Fulgoni provided statistics that showed how mobile was eclipsing ecommerce and analog commerce; Schwan opened the audience’s eyes to Ubiquitous Computing and the Internet of Things, and De Leon showed the power of (pervasively ;^) being yourself.

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How Social Changed Retail: Empowered Customers and Omni-channel Commerce

Empowered customers and omni-channel commerce are mirrors of each other, and both are transforming “retail.”

empowered customers and omni-channel: retail and ecommerce disruption[UPDATED] Connected customers have the Internet in their pockets and use mobile and other devices in all stages of conceptualizing, considering, evaluating, buying and using purchased products and services. These customers want to interact with firms and brands in a seamless experience that features single sign-on as an entry point; they want the firm to respond using their individual data when that makes interacting more valuable. Omni-channel commerce refers to a collection of technologies, practices and strategies firms use to provide the personal individualized experience that connected customers expect.

IBM’s 2012 study of retail customers in eight mature economies (Australia, Canada, France, Italy, Japan, Spain, the UK and the USA) and seven growth economies (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, China, Colombia, Mexico and South Africa) lays bare that the retail “shopping” experience has shifted profoundly, although you wouldn’t know it by looking at most offline or online retailers’ presences. The paper, “Winning over the empowered consumer: Why trust matters,” is a call to action […]

The Global Social Channel: How to Compete Globally

Social Channel Three: Using the Social Channel to Defend Native Markets and Penetrate Foreign Markets

The global Social Channel will reintroduce “home court advantage” to national brands because those that use social business to compete globally by collaborating with users will have the cultural advantage; “foreign” firms may have better product features for the money, but they will not match home brands’ cultural fluency. Personalized service and attention are culturally specific, and deep cultural fluency directly correlates to intimacy. However, brands can only develop the home court advantage by practicing social business at an advanced level. Most have a long way to go and, meanwhile, they will get hammered when they persist in competing on product features in the Productized Channel of Value.

The blade cuts both ways: the home court advantage will make exporting to emerging markets much more difficult in the years ahead. The Social Channel will raise the bar because users in all markets will increasingly expect brands to relate to them and to solicit their input and advice. Brands will have to invest significantly in developing in-market social business […]

The Social Channel of Value

Social Channel Two: Understanding the Social Channel of Value by Examining Its Precedents

The Social Channel of ValueMeet the Social Channel of Value, the new arena where brands compete for user (customer, client) attention and loyalty. Product features are losing their ability to differentiate because they are copied so easily. Moreover, the Social Channel of Value will transform human decision-making, organizations and institutions because it digitizes sociality, a core human trait, and its power will dwarf the power of the product and the brand. CEOs, CMOs and CPOs have a very rare social business opportunity to harness the Social Channel ahead of competitors and remake their markets. These are strong statements, but bear with me and I think you’ll appreciate why I’ve made them.

The Social Channel is the Knowledge Economy‘s analog to the Industrial Economy’s assembly line, which led to today’s brands and mass-produced products. Where the assembly line made fabrication ten times more efficient, digital social technologies will boost human communication and sociality by an order of magnitude. The “Social Channel of Value” shows how product and service features will lose […]

Building Post-Product Relationships in the Social Channel

Social Channel One: Building Post-Product Relationships with Customers is how to Build Brands

The Social Channel of ValuePioneering brands are building post-product customer relationships in the social channel because they realize that product features are copied easily and serve as weak differentiators, which leads to pervasive commoditization. Moreover, people’s preferences for individualized information dealt mass media a lethal blow, and products firms will have a similar fate. Here’s why products will become extinct and how to guide your brand in building post-product customer relationships and profits.

I have predicted for years that mass customization would be the fate of “products,” and social business is bearing this out in spades, so here I’ll delve into how impersonal “products” will be rejected by customers in 5-15 years. More important, CMOs and brand stewards who appreciate this transformation will enjoy unusual advantage, and smart ones will prepare for it now. Brands that don’t get it will simply perish, and no one will even notice except their producers and vendors. Just think about the local papers and TV stations you have known.

This is Part One of […]

Local 2.0: Trends & Opportunities in Re-localization

conversationsThe fascinating post in the Read Write Web outlines a new trend, “Relocalization” or the inevitable “Local 2.0” that’s a backlash against malls, industrial “retail” and online “community.” It predicts a resurgence of “face to face” interaction, and people paying a premium for locally produced products and “townish” community.

It’s a new synthesis: people increasingly don’t believe in commuting, and many workers are accustomed to working “from home” or in Starbucks or other public coworking spaces. Local 2.0 carries a strong green, anti-carbon tinge as well. And it’s not at all incompatible with periodic jetsetting, everything can interoperate. Definitely worth watching!

Post-Product Marketing and Engagement

Drive customer engagement and brand value by focusing on the experience of using your product or service. This is the manna of word of mouth and social computing conversations. […]