R “Ray” Wang, Founder, Chairman and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research
Companies today inhabit a vastly different world to that of a generation ago. The physical shop once dominated the space for transactions, and the route a product took between suppliers and buyers was simple and direct.
Now, however, companies are forced to contend with numerous complex product information value chains that feed out from a wide array of channels: the company’s own website, social media marketing platforms, aggregators and more. The upshot isn’t that they are beginning to lose control of their product data, but that they already have.
For a long time, the advice given to businesses to overcome what is now known as “commerce anarchy” was to optimise, optimise, optimise. But this did not enable them to take back control: rather, optimisation created a hydra of a commerce machine, its many heads comprising numerous marketing and sales tools that generated siloed product information value chains. The result: the machine stopped functioning smoothly, and everything, from brand reputation to revenue, began to suffer.
Transformation, not optimisation
This realisation has prompted a change in how companies think about business efficiency and the customer experience they deliver. With an abundance of options for purchasing available, the consumer is king, and companies are now required to compete more than ever. If they can’t deliver on customer demands, and if they see complexity as a barrier rather than something to take advantage of, they will not survive.
A solution to commerce anarchy that is gaining wider attention is the product-to-consumer (P2C) strategy – effectively a new category of commerce technology that offers symbiosis and harmony across channels. P2C eliminates the chaos that resulted from the combination of dozens of disparate, poorly integrated applications for previous generations of retailers, brands, marketplaces and service providers. Such a system, designed to streamline product information value chains, eliminates up to 50 different categories of application.
One of the great benefits of a P2C system is that brands can really get to know their customers again. This is vital in an age in which e-commerce is rapidly evolving because companies are losing sight of the needs and desires of the people they are trying to market their products to. In many cases, there is no longer the physical proximity to potential buyers that brands once enjoyed, and it’s become impossible to keep up with changes to omnichannel requirements and processes, ultimately fracturing and confusing the retail experience.
For the customer, therefore, who is presented with the abundance of choices e-commerce offers, the quality of interaction with a company, and the faith they have in the ability of that company to deliver, is key. Optimising here and there simply doesn’t allow businesses to deliver on these needs, as many have found out the hard way. Rather, a complete overhaul in how companies think about how they connect with customers, and a transformation in product information value chain management, is now essential.
Mastering commerce anarchy
Part of the rationale behind streamlining the myriad pathways between products and consumers is that it leads to higher-quality product data. The personalisation of the customer experience has been revolutionary for retail, but when it’s feeding off a disorganised mass of product data it can deliver a negative product experience to a brand’s target audience.
It therefore comes back to a question of control over the digital commerce ecosystem. Productsup has made developing a holistic customer experience central to its mission, and it understands that control is among the most vital ingredients of success. Its product-to-consumer (P2C) platform, which combines analytics, automation and AI, is increasingly becoming the go-to resource for companies looking to gain mastery over the anarchic commerce world.
Productsup provides businesses with a “single point of truth” by consolidating the management view of more than 2,500 channels currently used by companies and delivering product data that is concise, readable, actionable and, importantly, powerful. In doing so, it gives businesses complete control over the product, brand and service experiences.
The future success of businesses engaged in commerce rests on two main factors: the ability to bring together, and make sense of, the huge volumes of information exchanged between suppliers and customers. As the marketplace has grown more complex, these factors have begun to elude brands. But now, with a product-to-consumer system, the two can be realised on one platform.
To learn more about P2C, download this report.