Last updated: Channeling Jon Snow: Building your kingdom with digital commerce

Channeling Jon Snow: Building your kingdom with digital commerce


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Are you feeling like Jon Snow sometimes? As though you’re fighting those White Walkers, the Boltons, Queen Cersei, and hosts of others without a secret weapon to give you a much-needed edge?

As a growing enterprise or a small and often-ignored business unit, you face many challenges in growing your business:

  1. First off, many of your potential customers don’t know you (Jon Snow? Aren’t you Ned Stark’s illegitimate son?)
  2. Your business does not have an eight or nine-digit marketing budget to reach and educate many of your potential customers
  3. You rely on word-of-mouth and “social charity” from your existing customers to spread the good words about your business
  4. The ability to build and nurture go-to-market channels is nearly non-existent – again, coming back to cost
  5. Your business doesn’t have brand power to attract distributors and resellers needed to succeed.

Even if by chance, some potential customers have heard of you, you may not have the means to conduct business with these customers. Reasons could be locations or the cost of doing business with them.

What then?

Time to look at that e-commerce topic that you’ve been putting off because it seems difficult and costly

Here are some data and facts to consider:

  • In a McKinsey research of B2B buyers in 2016, only 15% of them would want to contact a sales rep to make similar repeat purchases. The rest prefer some form of self-service channel options.
  • The share of retail sales for e-commerce is projected to reach 15.5% by 2021, according to Statista.
  • Also according to Statista, consumers are increasingly preferring to buy online instead of in-store, especially in digital goods at 60% and electronics at43%. In fact, in categories such as clothing and jewelry, the percentage is still significant, with clothing at 40% and jewelry at 32%.
  • Availability of online channels, particularly mobile and social, are very important to Millennials.
  • Amazon, Alibaba, and other e-commerce giants continue to grow and expand, usually at the expense of brick-and-mortar competitors

How can digital commerce drive sales growth?

Digital commerce is an alternate direct-to-customer channel that complements your existing ones. With digital commerce, you have a channel that enables you to engage with customers and prospects. It gives you the capabilities to learn about your customers and their preferences. You can test new offers with specific segments, get their feedback, and optimize for larger segments.

Whether you’re selling to consumers or organizations, digital commerce can supplement and “back-up” your existing offline channels, improving their effectiveness when done right. And sometimes, it provides the only viable channel to reach customers that cannot be addressed with offline channels.

Another way that digital commerce drives sales growth is that it is a very effective marketing channel that provides awareness and education to your potential customers. It’s a known fact that buyers usually start their buying journey with their favorite search engine, independent of what they are buying or for whom (personal and business) they are buying.

Thus, a well-designed digital channel with engaging and comprehensive product information enables you to connect with buyers right at the beginning of their buying journey. You have that opportunity to earn their trust, facilitating the eventual purchase.

A third reason is that the digital storefront is usually more effective, vis-à-vis your average sales rep or retailer, at product promotions, up-selling, and cross-selling when the buyers are ready to buy. There are many reasons for these results. First off, digital commerce uses data-driven rules to deliver promotions or to make cross-sell recommendations. And the actual execution or delivery is consistent over time. Thus, these tactics work in many cases.

However, your offline channels performance will vary based on individual execution. Experienced and motivated sales professionals will usually outperform digital channel tactics because they have the emotional intelligence that machine lacks, at least currently. But your average sales person will usually underperform the digital channel. And sometimes, your sales force or channel will have conflicting incentives, steering them away from making the appropriate cross-selling or up-selling when needed.

In the Game of Thrones, Jon Snow survives and wins by being resourceful. You can, too, by using digital commerce. In fact, there are best practices to becoming an omnichannel business quickly and gaining the competitive advantage.

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