The emergence of the mobile-meets-social media marketing phenomenon called « uberfication, » named after the popular mobile-based car service, is disrupting industries and creating a new era of commerce.
Because of companies like Uber, customer expectations are also changing—putting more focus on the buyer experience in the moment. This “uberfication” experience—a grocery delivery or scheduling a car pickup—can span many devices, one at every stage of the customer journey from acquisition to conversion to loyalty.
Furthermore, this phenomenon is prompting venture capitalists to keep an eye on the next tech darlings whose businesses support this changing commerce model. In fact, last year in the U.S. alone, VCs invested $52 billion in commerce-related technologies.
With the annual global flows of goods, services and finance expected to reach $85 trillion by 2025, how will organizations ensure this seamless journey of the delivery of products or services through multiple devices, systems and apps to consumers?
Today, supply chains have become sophisticated with analytics, redefining commerce with real-time intelligence, while laying the foundation for companies to perfect and deliver a flawless customer experience. With this deeper level of analytic insight, companies can better understand and engage with their customers in a personalized way, predict « individual » buying trends and tap into how they feel about their brand—across all channels—from warehouse to service provider to store to smartphone. Today, companies can provide customers with the flexibility of more convenient payment choices such as ApplePay, transparent fulfillment and personalized after-sales support such as receiving a text on a status of a car repair or regular updates on special offers and discounts. It’s this after-service experience and predicating buyer demands that build to loyal brand followers.Insights gleaned from this level of interaction and buying patterns by a customer will enable companies to ease the entire customer experience and exceed expectations throughout. Because, after all, it is the experience that will create a return customer and determine downstream loyalty.
Inherent in this new multi-device online supply chain is a social aspect‚—absent in old ways of delivering goods and services, beyond the point-of sale.
We are seeing industries such as retail, transportation, hospitality and entertainment tightly integrating online and offline to perfect the commerce experience on the customer’s terms. Social-centric commerce should be targeted at promoting customer interaction, suggestions and recommendations.
For example, promoting a flash sale via platforms such as Pinterest and Instagram play an important role, but expect to also see the continued rise in prominence of review sites like Trustpilot, with a greater importance placed on what other customers are saying.
Companies that combine physical stores and e-commerce plus mobile devices and social media platforms will be the focus in 2015 as a competitive differentiator to engage customers and build brand loyalty.
This new economy signals a fundamental shift in the way that services and products are discovered and fulfilled with the customer at the center. Customers have choice—both on availability and price—and loyalty is harder to earn and maintain than ever before.
The “uberification”-inspired interplay of social and mobile that make the buying process and experience even more convenient – will be even more important, taking commerce to the next level and where VCs will place their next big bets.
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