Everyone knows that companies need to be digitally advanced in order to thrive – but is being tech-savvy the ultimate weapon in the modern business world?
Digital native companies are not only technology experts, but they also understand how people’s lives are directly influenced by digital innovations. For that reason, many enterprises have learned from digital native companies in order to succeed in the modern world.
So, what are digital native companies doing right?
Focus on Customers’ Digital Experience
It is not hard to set up an online transaction site, but it definitely requires more work to make that digital experience easy and pleasant for the customers.
People are willing to wait in line for a few minutes in a physical purchase scenario, but according to a study by Google in 2016, even a 3 second delay on a website or app can cause 50% of users to give up and leave. As ecommerce grows rapidly (23% year-over-year), a less-than-perfect digital experience can do serious damage to your brand.
According to the 2016 UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper report, shopping via smartphones is showing the fastest growth of any shopping method.
In 2015, Amazon announced that 70% of their shoppers used the Amazon shopping app to make purchases during holiday seasons. There are now plenty of shopping apps for every consumer need: housewares, clothing, beauty, and even groceries.
Some brands even go the extra mile with their mobile apps, allowing users to interact with the product. Sephora, a long-standing cosmetic retailer, allows users to “try on” makeup through camera technology, and Nike released a workout app to use on smart phones and watches.
Enterprises must recognize that consumers will search for their company on the Internet, and if they don’t find anything helpful, they will click on competitors’ websites.
Establish Subscription Models
Software developers started offering cloud-based solutions, which started the trend of subscription-based products.
Various software and digital products now offer a monthly subscription model for their products instead of making customers pay a big upfront fee. Now, the subscription model is offered for consumer goods and services.
Blue Apron, a meal-kit delivery service, allows customers to prepare complete meals without having to grocery shop, while Amazon Prime offers monthly deliveries of household items like detergent, napkins, etc., so that people will never run out of the essentials.
In some cases, this subscription model has made enterprise brands struggle.
When Dollar Shave Club offered monthly delivery of razors to subscribers, Gillette was put in a challenging spot because customers preferred this more convenient option. Gillette has since rolled out a subscription-based purchasing option to keep themselves in the game.
Companies need to keep in mind that besides a good product, consumers also demand an easy and convenient purchasing experience.
Elevate Memberships and Loyalty Programs
While membership models have existed for a long time, digital native companies are boosting this trend.
“Savvy and strategic companies are now looking beyond these rewards programs to delight, create and retain loyal customers,” says Howard Schneider, senior consultant for Kobie Marketing. “They are looking to solve customers’ problems and soothe pain points.”
Schneider explained that many companies are doing so through lifestyle apps: Starbucks’ app helps customers preorder drinks and check on status, and Walgreens’ app allows prescription refills, purchase monitoring and redeeming rewards.
These apps and loyalty programs reinforce the company’s brand, as well as the customers’ engagement.
Enterprises have been quick to start using loyalty programs as a part of their branding scheme. Sephora offers three levels of subscriptions that can only be earned through purchases at their online and physical stores. The highest status, VIB Rouge, offers its members a wide variety of free beauty services, deals and early access to sales.
This customer loyalty drives business, and every business – no matter the industry – must recognize this.
Engage in Digital Conversations
Digital native companies understand how communication has changed in the Internet age, and this helps them become very proactive at engaging with customers, especially through social media.
According to a research done by Social Media Today, 71% of consumers who experience a good social media interaction with a brand are likely to recommend it to others. Through social media, companies can also showcase their culture and values: Taco Bell’s witty tweets, Brandy Melville’s aesthetically elegant Instagram feed, or Everlane’s exciting daily Snapchat updates.
The most significant social media effect on business, however, is the rising presence of social media influencers.
These are lifestyle icons that have thousands or millions of followers on the Internet, and their opinions are powerful assets for product endorsement. Acting as a company’s affiliate or brand ambassador, these influencers promote all type of products across various platforms like YouTube, Instagram, Twitter and more.
Recent research from Twitter showed that nearly half of consumers seek guidance from social media influencers, which has shifted the modern marketing trend for many companies, especially enterprises.
Practice Social Responsibility
Thanks to the Internet and social media, people have direct access to discussions around global issues like human rights, finite resources, animal cruelty prevention and climate change.
Consumers, especially millennials, bring these values into their buying behavior.
Nielson’s annual Global Corporate Sustainability Report in 2015 indicated that 55% of consumers across the globe are willing to spend more on a product that comes from a sustainable brand. Millennials also report their preference to work for companies that promote social consciousness.
Many companies keep social responsibility at their core. Starbucks, for example, has committed to ethically sourcing their coffee beans and supporting Ethos Water – bringing clean water to more than one billion people in need. Footwear brand Toms gives away one pair of shoes for every pair purchased, and Amazon Smile even allows buyers choose and donate to their favorite charity when they make an order, at no extra cost.
Companies with ethical and sustainable practices are clearly thriving in the Internet age.
In order to truly succeed, companies have to understand how customers’ lifestyles, decisions and habits are influenced by technology.
Being digitally native is not only about working with technology – it’s about working with humans through the aid of technological advancement, and that is something enterprises can learn from digital native companies.