I attended the final day of #SmarterCommerce Global Summit 2013 in Nashville a couple of weeks ago. From a virtual walkthrough of a car to a holistic 360-degree view of my social footprint, the application of technology to business was absolutely amazing and a joy to watch. Now I’m really looking forward to the Monaco Global Summit this coming week, June 18-20, where in addition to hearing the excellent speakers at the general sessions, I will be hosting the IBM leaders, customers, and partner community.

IBM is doing more than just talking about intelligence; their customers are actually implementing it! We can all read brochures. When a client executive or a customer panel gets on stage and talks candidly about what they’ve implemented – such as Target stores creating more intelligent ways to engage and influence guests on any screen, any time – we see how Smarter Commerce helps customers make better purchase decisions . I also appreciated the customer sessions, with their candid comments of failures, lessons learned, and evolving best practices.

Here is my take on Smarter Commerce: don’t wait for your customers to lead. Very few organizations can afford to trust that customers will connect the dots between the value proposition and their individual needs or wants. Customers simply aren’t going to invest the time or effort. Customers across a broad base of industries will demand that you listen to and understand them, engage them and deliver the exact offer that matches their tastes, preferences, and prejudices; in essence their desired experiences in every step of the value chain. Get it right, consistently and they’ll reward you with their employment, investments, partnerships and purchases. But you have to do the work before you expect the reward.

How do you build a relationship with someone you don’t know is in the market for your products or services? One you’ve initiative a one-to-one relationship, how do you personalize it–and then scale it? How can you leave less of the experience to chance and make the most out of every moment that current or prospective customer chooses to engage your brand?

Smarter Commerce about listening intently. It’s about identifying, building, nurturing and capitalizing on great relationships. At the Nashville Summit I saw IBM’s “Watson” power a banking customer interface. Soon my bank will interact with me at any time and on any screen I choose.

Smarter Commerce means we understand what is the right information to deliver to a customer and the right channel to deliver it. When your prospects see you as a viable option for credible, actionable information, you begin to capture their attention. Educate and engage them and you’ll gain their respect. Influence their thinking and call to action and you’ll earn their trust and loyalty.

Relationships are the beating heart of the Smarter Commerce approach. It’s as simple as, “Like Me – Know Me – Trust Me – Pay Me!” But getting to strategic quality relationships is not so simple.

Smarter Commerce is an organizational journey. Its destination is an enterprise capable of delivering seamless, intuitive customer experiences. Interactions require contextual relevancy; in essence understanding your customers’ behavior, predicting their needs, preferences and intentions. In working with several clients, I can tell you that this can’t be achieved overnight. There is no “magic pill” to transform the way your team reacts to the data right under their nose! It’s a journey in which they become able to think about and act upon customer insights. That evolution must begin with changing your people’s lens, streamlining their processes, infusing the organization agility, and learning how to fail and apply those failures to the next opportunity!

So, here are three ideas I took away from just one day at the #SmarterCommerce Global Summit:

  1. It’s impressive to see the business applications of the technology solutions.
  2. Smarter Commerce is a transformative mindset.
  3. The applications are endless!

If you can’t join us in Monaco this coming week to experience much of this in person, you can follow #SmarterCommerce. Look forward to meeting all, David

 

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