A new Deloitte Access Economics report has unveiled fresh evidence on commerce trends in the Asia-Pacific region. A key finding from the report showed that a 5 per cent shift of customer purchases to digital channels generated a 3.5 per cent boost to revenue growth.
The Asia-Pacific commerce report for Sitecore management group was based on a survey of over 1,000 businesses in the Asia-Pacific, including Australia, New Zealand, Japan, China, India and Singapore.
It identified three key actions for businesses to improve their focus on experience commerce: embrace the multi-channel customer journey and ensure a consistent experience across physical and digital channels; invest in an integrated and consistent system that can bring customer data together from multiple sources while increasing efficiencies; and lastly, analyse customer data and increase the scope of personalised communication with customers.
The use of social media, apps, websites and other digital tools for sales is expected to grow, with businesses aiming for a five percentage point shift in sales out of traditional channels like bricks-and-mortar and into digital, following customer trends online.
The report also showed that businesses face an emerging risk from sales channel fragmentation, with many offering up to eight channels for sales. While adding directly to costs, it can also be harder for businesses to achieve consistent experiences and to achieve system compatibility. The average business in the region is using five channels, with not one channel accounting for more than 25 per cent of sales, making it hard for businesses to prioritise their efforts.
Digital tools help businesses keep up with competitors and drive sales but they are more than just a shopping cart. Improving the online experience is a priority for a majority of businesses because of growing recognition of the importance of experience commerce, the focus on an end-to-end personalised customer journey and using digital channels to also build engagement and brand.
Deloitte Access Economics partner, and report principal author, John O’Mahony, said digital strategies can’t be thought of as simply online sales to reduce costs, because consumers want better experiences across multiple channels. “Businesses in the Asia-Pacific region are aware of just how pivotal having a focus on the customer journey is, with over 80 per cent of those surveyed agreeing that continual engagement is important.”
Deloitte Digital partner Jason Hutchinson added that growth in online competition and the changing purchasing patterns of consumers have led to a need for businesses to improve the customer experience across physical and digital purchasing channels, allowing consumers to seamlessly interact with the business online and offline.
“Experience commerce and a focus on the end-to-end ecommerce using personalised content, can assist business in making the most of each interaction, strengthen customer loyalty and revenue generation opportunities,” he said.
While there are many digital channels available, websites and email remain the centrepiece of most digital strategies because of their effectiveness in providing information to, and communicating with, customers. And 72 per cent of surveyed businesses in the Asia-Pacific region noted that a website was very important to their business operations, a much higher proportion than other traditional or digital channels.
“This reinforces that e-commerce needs to be considered as more than just an online shopping cart,” Sitecore head of strategic products for Greater Asia, Anthony Chan said. “The technology that powers digital commerce needs to help businesses manage the end-to-end customer experience. It’s not just about the transaction, it’s about the overall customer experience, online and offline and businesses need digital marketing technology that supports that.”
Over half of the businesses surveyed had lost revenue or sales through inadequate commerce platforms. While businesses in the region look to increase their online operations, they are facing barriers to further digital adoption with 25-28 per cent of businesses in Australia, New Zealand, China and Singapore citing integration into existing systems as their biggest challenge.
“Obviously there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to commerce operations. However, businesses that do not recognise the changing needs of the modern day consumer risk being left behind,” Chan said. “A streamlined digital marketing and commerce system that supports a bigger focus on personalisation throughout the entire customer experience, will help business in overcoming these changes.”
This story was originally published by Appliance Retailer.
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