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At SAP Hybris Summit, Shoppers Rewrite the Rules

February 23, 2016 by Judith Magyar 191

The omni-channel challenge, the evolution of customer profiles and customer engagement at every touch point were the hot topics at the SAP Hybris Summit 2016.

Shopping is social, millennials are setting the tone, and the medium is mobile. No one is surprised by these consumer-driven trends in retail. What is surprising is the amount of power they give consumers and how much pressure they put on retailers.

The Death of the Salesman

Until just a few years ago, buying a washing machine, a pair of shoes or a bag of groceries required a trip to the store. Today the experience begins at home with a search engine. Often, it continues at home with an electronic payment and ends with a delivery to the doorstep. Technology has made it easy to find, buy and get everything you need with the ease of a click. Smart retailers are the ones that are responding to this new craving for convenience by providing new, easy ways to shop. They also continuously seek to understand their customers and evolve together with them.

“The sales roles of the past and the old customer relationship models are dying. In the future, our customers will be our partners, and our partners must reinvent their roles,” said Carsten Thoma, president of SAP Hybris, during his keynote address at the SAP Hybris Summit 2016 last week in Munich. “Just as the classic software development model is changing, when it comes to buying and selling, we need to develop and monetize together.”

The omnichannel experience (Graphic from SAP Hybris website)

Engagement Across All Touch Points

Customers expect a seamless experience. They want to add to the bag at home or in the store. They want to see their items when they resume shopping on their mobile devices. They want to get personalized promotions when they enter the store. Loblaws, Canada’s hugely successful grocery chain, for example, has attracted over 16 million loyalty users, or half the population of the entire country, using technology that analyzes massive volumes of customer data enabling the company to send fully individualized promotion offers. But most retailers are still far from that model.

“One of the biggest challenges is personalization, and the answer to that is the customer profile,” says Moritz Zimmermann, co founder and CTO of SAP Hybris.  “The profile contains the context, but context is difficult to capture, so retailers often don’t do it. If you are shopping for a book about pink ponies for your niece, you may want to see what books other customers have bought, but that doesn’t mean you constantly want to get info about pink pony books.”

SAP Hybris Profile, which was announced as part of the company’s Beyond CRM launch in September 2015, helps enterprises capture all customer interactions and behaviors which are consolidated in  continually evolving customer profiles. With the help of advanced analytics, the data can then be interpreted to anticipate what the customer wants so the retailer can proactively deliver meaningful engagement opportunities across all touch points creating a seamless, personal experience.

It’s Not Who You Know But Who Knows You

Over 2,700 customers, partners and influencers gathered at this year’s SAP Hybris Summit to share best practices and learn about the company’s strategic direction for customer engagement and commerce solutions. During the keynote panel discussion, some of the industry’s sharpest minds shared their insights.

Industry analysts Gerry Murray from IDC and Ovum’s Jeremy Cox believe full personalization should be every marketer’s goal but also agree that organizations must evolve so they act as one entity. “This goes way beyond just marketing. You need to know a lot about your customer, how a lead forms in the pipeline, how different relationships develop across all touchpoints. As one client once said, it can turn into one hairy ball of wax! Success requires massive changes in how organizations work together,” said Jeremy.

They also urged enterprise leaders to embrace disruption. “The CEO must be the orchestrato of change. You can’t expect individual departments to automatically align to a single journey!”

Forrester’s Pascal Matzke agrees that personalization is key, but also warned against delivering a one-sided experience. “It’s not just about the buyer’s journey. It’s also about the back office and delivering on post purchase expectations.”

These are just a few examples of the rich discussions about the future of commerce and the role we play in it. Stay tuned for more stories about the journey beyond CRM with SAP Hybris solutions.

This story originally appeared on SAP Business Trends.

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