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Data and Tech: The Future of Commerce is channel-less

Kees Jacobs
Jul 19, 2023

Part 1: Unlocking value from commerce with data

In my role as global Data and Analytics leader for Capgemini’s Consumer Products and Retail Sector, I often see business leaders having a blind spot when it comes to the increasing value of data in driving sales for their organization. So perhaps it is not surprising that so few of them know how to unlock this at scale within their companies.

Recently at the Consumer Goods Forum Global Summit in Kyoto, Nestlé’s global head of sales and customers, Jordi Bosch, made an inspiring statement, when he said:Data and tech are the future of sales.”

In this three-part blog series, I will explore the implications of this statement for all consumer goods and retail companies as they strive to transform their sales and marketing organisations in this new, more data-driven era of commerce.

Data-driven transformation to channel-less commerce

Consumer behavior has undergone a permanent transformation, along with their expectations of the companies that serve them. Nestlé refers to this as “channel-less commerce” (others call it ‘Connected’ or ‘eco-system led’ Commerce) where consumer goods brands and retailers must be able to provide personally relevant and consistent experiences across an eco-system of owned and third-party channels and touchpoints.

On stage in Kyoto, my colleague Owen McCabe, who is supporting Nestlé in their transformation, presented the impact this has on companies, including different metrics (customer lifetime value) and next-levels of data capabilities (e.g. first-party data), in order to offset additional costs of customer acquisition and fulfilment.

Data flows to connect capabilities end-to-end

To thrive in this changing business model landscape, the consumer goods industry needs to master a new set of end-to-end capabilities turbo-powered by data. These can be split into front-end capabilities such as search and merchandising, personalized content generation, integrated marketing automation, comprehensive product information, dynamic pricing and promotions and channel-less carts and checkout experiences.

These front-end capabilities must then seamlessly align with back-end capabilities like inventory and order management, last-mile logistics and fulfilment, customer management and loyalty, risk management, customer service, and sales management. All functions must be rewired to work together as one demand-team, in effective collaboration with selected eco-system partners. With data as the ‘electric current’ flowing ‘end-to-end’, powering the organisation to meet consumer expectations.

Data value: Benefits for all

What I often find when working with clients, is that ultimately those who best leverage the data are those who best understand the value of the data. Specifically, by linking that data to the concrete business benefits it enables for consumers, retailers, consumer goods companies, and the wider ecosystem of value-chain partners. Consumers will see value when they get relevant inspiration, personalized experiences and can seamlessly shop across channels.

For companies, data value translates into growth, profitability, and customer satisfaction. By using data to understand consumer needs, companies can develop products and services that meet those needs, improve reach, engagement and conversion across channels (in collaboration with channel partners) and touchpoints, increase repeat purchases, and deliver on promises. Smart analytics play a crucial role in improving decision-making and optimizing the entire customer journey.

Does your organization leverage data to connect front-end and back-end operations in a seamless way, and does your organization truly understand the business benefits that such data can unlock?

Stay tuned for the second and third parts of this blog series, where I will delve deeper into data sources, data collaboration, predictive and generative analytics, data foundations, composable tech architectures, data cultures, and the transformational data journey.

The future of commerce is channel-less, and it’s essential for companies to embrace it. Stay tuned…

About the author

Kees Jacobs

Consumer Products & Retail Global Insights & Data Lead, Capgemini
Kees is Capgemini’s overall Global Consumer Products and Retail sector thought leader. He has more than 25 years’ experience in this industry, with a track record in a range of strategic digital and data-related B2C and B2B initiatives at leading retailers and manufacturers. Kees is also responsible for Capgemini’s strategic relationship with The Consumer Goods Forum and a co-author of many thought leadership reports, including Reducing Consumer Food Waste in the Digital Era.

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