Even older, established businesses can be nimble enough to enjoy new growth, thanks to the same cutting-edge technology that’s helping retailers personalize shopping.
Advanced analytics, machine learning and other intelligent technologies use data from across the organization to improve customer experience (CX) by offering the right product based on each individual’s preferences.
“I actually have, from different sources, all of the information from her online basket, past transactions, what kind of service has she asked for,” SAP’s Catarina Santos said in a video demonstration (see below) at SAP Customer Experience LIVE in 2018. “If we are in store, we are picking up her online basket and her purchase in store — so we are connecting both worlds.”
Such connections are even better when you don’t have to build an on-premises architecture — or employ huge teams to support it, according to Lorenz Gan, chief information officer at New Era Cap Company. In Gan’s case, SAP provides those services while New Era focuses on delivering an unprecedented CX via mobile commerce and other channels.
“We’re able to do it in the cloud, very quickly, operating these multiple channels on SAP Customer Experience,” Gan said at SAP Customer Experience LIVE. “And it’s allowing us to innovate very quickly — because the demand to innovate quickly is at an all-time high.”
Delivering Better CX Than Your Digital Competition
“Own that relationship direct with customers… you’re competing for a few inches on a phone… how do you stand out?” Gan said. “We needed a platform, and we needed the platform very quickly — and that’s where we moved with SAP Commerce Cloud.”
The new platform helped New Era improve its direct-to-consumer model, according to Gan. But the cloud-first approach to omnichannel CX was a big change for the Buffalo, N.Y.-based apparel company, whose U.S. sales have been mostly business-to-business (B2B) for the past century.
“So we have been undergoing a digital transformation of that channel as well,” Gan said. “The distinction between B2B and B2C, from a consumer standpoint, is narrowing… you should treat your B2B customers as you would those precious direct-to-consumer customers.”
But connecting with different kinds of customers in so many ways — and in new places — can present fresh challenges.
Solve Challenges, Create Opportunities
“We take a longer view of our responsibilities and goals,” Anke Abbenhuis-Swinkles, chief innovation officer at Swinkels Innovations, said at SAP Customer Experience LIVE. “We need to move fast, and we are looking for new opportunities every day.”
One such opportunity for Swinkels Family Brewers was in Ethiopia, a relative greenfield four years ago, which is now home to a brewery that the almost-300-year-old Dutch brewer operates alongside about 8,000 Ethiopian shareholders, according to the seventh-generation Swinkles. But delivering to customers can be a big challenge in regions with no street names or addresses.
“Together with SAP, we did it,” Swinkles said of her company’s success with SAP Sales Cloud. “We used geolocation [and mobile technology] for our sales team — now we can manage our distribution and sales. And we are connected to our customers every day… that’s where our experiences begin.”
Connecting With — and Involving — Customers
Retail startups, century-old manufacturers, multi-generational brewers, and many others can use data from across their organizations to better connect with new and old customers. And implementation is no longer a costly years-long process.
“Our customers, our lines of business will not tolerate lengthy implementations… for our digital products,” New Era’s Gan said. “They want to see it now, they want to be part of the refinement process, and they want to use it as soon as possible. SAP has allowed us to do that.”
Connected stores can help retailers better personalize the shopping experience for each customer, according to SAP’s Catarina Santos at SAP Customer Experience LIVE 2018. In-store associates can access an individual’s relevant data from many different sources, delivering a vastly improved CX — along with the perfect product.