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Get ready for street commerce

Get ready for street commerce

Street commerce could redefine customer relationship management

Longhaus research director, Scott Stewart

Longhaus research director, Scott Stewart

According to MIT Sloan, the global customer relationship management (CRM) market exceeds $50 billion annually and yet consistently 55-75 per cent of implementations fail to meet the expectations of business stakeholders. There are case studies of successful CRM projects, but it raises the question of the validity of building silos of customer data in the belief that it adds intrinsic value to the enterprise balance sheet or the customer experience. Will emerging technologies change the way we think about managing customer relationships and interactions?

CRM loses relevance as a link to enterprise revenues

The CRM directory of customer phone numbers makes the sales professional more efficient, and CRM activities assist in the time management and governance of sales pipelines. But in terms of information and selling opportunities, the real value for many enterprises increasingly flows through external channels that exist beyond the enterprise firewall. The future success and differentiation of these enterprises will depend on pushing relevant information to the customer with both an intuitive call to action and a means for immediate response. Not only will customers demand information with immediacy and detail, they will require the ability to interact with information at any time, any place and on any device.

The current failings with many existing approaches to customer interaction strategies are due to:

  • Building internal CRM data silos and consequently striving to keep the information current, updated and relevant.
  • Online strategies that result in websites that are predominately online billboards without consideration of the user experience or behaviours.
  • Believing that customer demand is for read-only information without intuitiveness or the ability for interaction and buy-now responses.
  • The dilution of e-commerce opportunities when strategies only consider e-commerce as the addition of a self-serve shopping cart.
  • The lack of m-commerce strategies that consider the increasing use of mobile internet devices.

When CRM strategies work, they promise to deliver valuable business benefits such as achieving a single customer view. In most cases, however, this promise has failed to either materialise or deliver any significant or lasting business benefits. Perhaps it is time to rethink our approach to CRM?

Tap to buy

Window shopping once meant ‘look not buy’ but 24x7 window shoppers will ‘tap to buy’.

Just as the CIO comes to terms with the enterprise CRM strategy, a new disruption is emerging: Street commerce. The digital media industry is developing the next generation of customer engagement technologies with the arrival of ‘interactive digital displays and signage’ (IDDS). Along with the prolific adoption of mobility, a next generation of technologies such as near field communication (NFC), Kinect, transparent LCD and digital wallets, are combining to revolutionise consumer interaction and buying experiences through street-deployed IDDS. Consumers will be able to simply tap their phone on walls, windows, tables and screens to transact and interact with companies.

Australian CIOs need to be especially prepared for the disruption of street commerce since the Asia Pacific region leads the world in mobility growth and smartphone obsession.

The bottom line

Traditional CRM strategies that simply silo information will most likely fail. Competitive advantage can come to those enterprises pushing out relevant information to consumers where they are. CIOs who can exploit the mobility trend through street commerce will deliver business value; enterprise may not be ready for disruptive technology, but consumers will drive demand and those who avoid the trend do so at their peril.

Scott Stewart is research director at Longhaus and has held CIO roles at SunSuper and Wilson HTM Investment Group.

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