How the Market Catches Up With Innovation
Digital Innovation at IFA 2013 [Source: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wWuvYaMnlwo]
We are often very good at tackling whatever challenge lies ahead of us. But sometimes we lack the ability to step back and see the big picture. How is it that we can put a man on the moon but there isn't a gasket good enough to stop that pesky leak in my kitchen sink? Are basic plumbing fixtures beyond the reach of our prowess when we now we can accomplish so much more?
The answer is that the markets are curious things. And we consumers make them that way. What a company's consumer base wants can be different from what that company can provide. The keys to success are predicated on being able to discern how to meet the expectations of consumers.
When we first set about analyzing the responses of 5,000 digitally savvy consumers across Australia, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States, we were fascinated by the disconnect that can occur when enterprises set about on their innovation journeys without the customer in mind. They do so at their own peril. In the digital age, consumers will tell an organization quite a bit about their buying habits if that organization will simply calibrate its resources to listen.
Infosys followed its Engaging Digital Consumers survey with another piece of seminal research - the State of the Store survey. What we found is that retail customers overwhelmingly have a fairly good idea of what they want before they shop - especially if it's a bricks-and-mortar store. If they happen to make their decisions in the store, those purchases are usually about fresh food or snacks and confectionary items.
Here's where it gets even more interesting: Consumers say that they are unlikely to interact with brands and retailers through their digital channels. More than seven in ten consumers (72 percent for brands and 74 percent for retailers) do not use retailers' and brands' Facebook pages, Twitter profiles, Web sites, or news feeds. Some of these brands are part of influential Consumer Packaged Goods companies that are not at a loss for excellent Web sites and social media efforts. It's just that consumers are hard-wired to do their brick-and-mortar shopping like they used to in the days before digital communications.
So what's a global CPG company to do? Well, that's where the right retailing solution comes in. Shelf placement, in-store promotions, and ensuring an item is in stock are three critical aspects of global retailing. Enterprise can facilitate all three by using that same digital technology to make certain that shoppers have a seamless experience. Whereas retailers used to look at Web commerce as separate and distinct from the bricks-and-mortar experience, they're now using the same digital tools across platforms. The idea is that when a consumer enters a store, she might receive a targeted ad on her smart phone that alerts her to a special sale. Or she might even get directions as to where certain products are in the store.
If these features sound a bit like shopping on a Web site, then you're not alone. Increasingly it doesn't matter where the shopping takes place. What matters is if the experience is seamless for the consumer and targeted for the retailer and brand. Our research shows that over a quarter (27 percent) of consumers who shop online do so because of the ease of finding products. If that same principal translates to a bricks-and-mortar store, customers will be likely to try to new products and brands because they're essentially staring them in the face.
It turns out that the same drive and innovative spirit that does things like send a man to the moon is now being used to redefine age-old experiences such as a trip to the store. Although the store is closer and doesn't require a rocket, the journey is nevertheless one based on a sophisticated interplay of technology and analysis.