Lingo24 partners with a number of global technology and service providers who play a role in supporting our customers’ approach to global content. We invited Joeri Moors, Market Development Manager at Osudio, to share three key ways to thrive in e-commerce.
“According to Darwin’s Origin of Species, it is not the most intellectual of the species that survives; it is not the strongest that survives; but the species that survives is the one that is able best to adapt and adjust to the changing environment in which it finds itself.”
This is a statement written by Leon C. Megginson, Professor of Management and Marketing at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, way back in 1963. But Megginson was not talking about the evolution of man. He was extending Darwin’s theory to address the need for businesses to adapt to the changing world around them.
Now, over half a century later, we can without a doubt say that Megginson was right. The above statement applies to companies and businesses, as well as species. The question all business leaders should ask is therefore how to keep their company healthy and agile within ever-changing circumstances.
Your customers expect more from your platform
No matter what business you are in, more often than not, these changing circumstances cannot be ignored. These are the developments that turn out to be disruptions to how things are done. And as this cannot come as a surprise, the contemporary digital revolution counts as one of those disruptions. For several decades now, technological innovations have changed the world. And some of the most recent technological innovations have brought us digitalization, a process of transferring information into a digital format, and integrating digital technologies into our day-to-day life.
In addition to a more general digital disruption, it is easily argued that the rise of e-commerce can be regarded as a disruption on its own. It has disrupted commerce in three ways:
- it gave rise to pure online players like Bol.com, Zalando, and Amazon
- it provides the opportunity to extend sales channels
- and it gives manufacturers’ the possibility to sell directly online.
As a result of these changes, consumers and customers now demand other things from a business then they did before.
So how do you stay ahead of the competition?
How do you turn these changes into an advantage and make it a success?
One thing is certain, over time it has become more complex to sell and distribute products. Customers use more channels than ever before to gather information and buy products. Customer segments tend to become smaller and smaller, therefore targeting all these segments has become more demanding. And finally, consumers demand more and better product information than ever before.
1. Extend your channels
First of all, do extend your (sales) channels. Since customers use more and more channels to shop online or ‘find inspiration’, it is important that you are present in the places in which your customers are looking.
The total number of communication, sales, and distribution channels you can use to sell or market has expanded rapidly. Make sure you know which channels are favored by your customer segments and be present, be visible.
THE NUMBER of channels is INCREASING and is likely to increase even further in the (near) future.
Abraham, J., “Product Information Management, theory and practice” 2014
Increasing your sales channels has many advantages. The most important one being that it allows you to increase sales. Whether you open a new store, start a new online shop, start selling at marketplaces, or expand your sales to other countries, all of these will expand your reach and allow you to increase sales. But in addition to increased sales, it also reduces risks since your dependency on a singular channel or market (or a few channels) drops significantly if you start adding channels.
2. Make your customer experience uniform
Secondly, it is important that you feed all channels with correct, relevant, high quality, and up-to-date product information. To successfully make an online sale, it is important that you avoid errors and data inconsistencies. Make sure that all ‘mandatory’ fields defined by the channel are filled, avoid the message that says ‘no image available’, and make sure that all information provided is correct and consistent across the various channels. If handled correctly, the uniform customer experience across all channels will increase your customer loyalty significantly.
If you have worked with different online channels before, you probably know that this can be quite demanding. Especially if you have to manage the data flow to various channels simultaneously. Most of these channels have created their own data format; the data that you need to supply to those channels needs to be formatted into that specific format.
In addition, channels likely have their own set of mandatory fields and/or attributes that you need to provide information for. And, all of these channels have their own product hierarchy, meaning that it is important that you need to pay close attention to the place where your products will show up in each of these channels. If customers cannot find your products, the chances of making a sale are particularly slim.
3. Manage your product data
If you want to succeed in the strategic move to extend your sales channels, it is of importance that you properly manage your product data. Either a PIM system or an MDM system is essential for this purpose. This is especially true where managing multiple languages and servicing different products by market.
The PIM serves as a single system in which all your product data comes together. Product Information can be stored and managed in a PIM or MDM system, you can easily validate your data, or make sure it is complete.
In addition, PIM and MDM systems are able to automatically publish data to any channel you may use. Thereby, not only making it a useful tool for the present but no matter how commerce will further evolve, a PIM or MDM system can easily adapt to new channels and new data formats.
And considering the quote from Megginson at the start of this blog, making your business adaptable to change, innovations, and disruptions, might just decide whether your company or business will be on the surviving side of history.
Megginson, ‘Lessons from Europe for American Business’, Southwestern Social Science Quarterly (1963)
Hesse, Steenkamp, Schmidt and Mugobo, ‘Cross-Cultural differences and similarities in retailers’ branding and digital maturity: a cross-border study’ (2020)
Abraham, J., ‘Product Information Management. Theory and Practice’ (2014)