Taking on Amazon? Focus on customer experience networks

Forget Amazon. Axway's Shawn Ryan explains how smaller businesses can adapt, innovate and disrupt in industries dominated by tech giants.

With the recent announcement of Amazon.com purchasing Whole Foods there is much to read today. The potential, the impact, the reality and the fear from this is great.

The quote from Christopher Mims in this weekend’s edition of the Wall Street Journal was sobering. “The impact of all this is clear: Existing businesses that can’t respond by becoming tech companies themselves are going to get bought or bulldozed, and power and wealth will be concentrated in the hands of a few companies in a way not seen since the Gilded Age.”

This says you must be a tech company. OK, you’re not Amazon. So how do you adapt, innovate and disrupt? Whether you have a 2BN+ market cap, or are a household brand or if you’re a small to medium business. The message is the same. To win. Don’t go at it alone. Innovate and co-create with others. Simple in principal, yet like most important lessons to learn in life and in business, difficult to enact. This simple principal is essential to transcend this shift to compete in this new business landscape.

To start, there is no question to be had on the importance of the topic of customer experience to which your efforts must serve in this new business landscape. Immersive experiences that surrounds a customer disrupts. So go back to the basic response – how do you compete. To be successful – don’t go it alone. To win – Leaders – disrupters – are creating Customer Experience Networks and further embracing critical concepts of co-create. In doing this with a focus of the customer at the centre and on immersive experiences, it is important for organisations to consider the below points to drive differentiation:

Master the full buyer’s journey for a true 360 view of the customer. Very few organisations are truly experienced in isolation. And if you are, you can better yourself with others. Understand all touch point’s current and future that surround your customer. Who is in the ecosystems that serve them? For example, a shopper’s ecosystem that combines retailers, product manufacturers, banks, consumer ratings providers, sales tax collectors and social media app developers. Another example, A patient’s ecosystem that touches hospitals, doctor’s offices, pharmacies, drug manufacturers, insurance payers, food diary developers and meal delivery providers. Embrace and engage the ecosystem and form strategic relationships together that can disrupt the market.

Use data to analyse customer insights and sift out opportunities. Big Data is an overwhelming topic for many but is essential to bring together insights to your customer’s experiences with you to learn more about opportunities. Tools exist help bring together data into a data lake and help with understanding of complex relationships and the overall corpus to aid business analysts to understand how to improve. Mix this with insights on the full buyer’s journeys from the ecosystems above.

Leveraging strategic business relationships for co-creation. The ecosystem surrounding your customers are those with whom the opportunities lies for strategic co-creation to disrupt and to build a 360 degree experience. Embrace strategic relationships with purpose and intent to disrupt and create immersive experiences.

Implement a Customer Experience Network. Open your data to innovation with your strategic relationships. Deliver data as dev ops ready services for rapid innovation. Create, Control and Publish APIs for consumption by the strategic partners you are involved with. Deliver apps at a pace that engage and change lives. After all, customer experience stories that are engaging are those that will change the way we live. And don’t expect this to be an easy process that is only completed once. You’ll be back at this again regularly, the key capabilities required for a customer experience network exist so you can iterate, adapt and change with the constituents you started with and create new ones.

So you’re not Amazon, that’s OK. There are still opportunities for technology company co-create. Don’t go at it alone. Think Customer Experience Networks and co-create to win.

Shawn Ryan is Vice President Product Marketing Digital as a Service at Axway.

Praseeda Nair

Praseeda Nair

Praseeda was Editor for GrowthBusiness.co.uk from 2016 to 2018.

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