Will the transparency in the digital marketplace be a major disruptor to your business?

Will the transparency in the digital marketplace be a major disruptor to your business?

The digital marketplace has taken one giant leap forward in recent months, and this is going to have severe implications for supply chains and sales channels. A new level of transparency and touchpoints will be required by the customer here and overseas, which has the potential to be a significant disruptor to your business.

One of the key objectives being discussed today for companies in the new normal is their ability to redesign supply chains and sale channels that will enable them to ‘rapidly reconfigure’ these in times of significant disruption. This is required right now for your business online, and here is why.

Firstly, the pricing model has just become a whole lot more complicated, and it’s not just about the move from bricks and mortar. Consumers shopping online have a certain expectation about price, and if you are a legacy business that has not redesigned your business platform here or in your export markets, your cost base and messaging will not work online.

Secondly, traceability of the product is and will become even more essential post-COVID-19 for health and authenticity reasons. Furthermore, concerns about the environment, as well as product sustainability, will continue to be of importance to end-users.
These three touch points – price, traceability and sustainability – will see an even more significant trend towards wanting to buy or sell closer to the source, or at the very least be able to obtain the information at source on your required product or service purchase.
Enabling this in the digital marketplace will require platforms that can facilitate the buying and selling process in many new ways. Not everyone is going to like this transparency – I know a wholesaler in Asia who will not share with the manufacturer who their core customers are.
The wholesaler needs that transparency to understand who their customers are to be able to truly redefine their marketing mix and product offering in this new normal. Wholesalers also want to make sure they can tell their supplier story and provide the transparency the customer is looking for in what they are buying. For the customers, they are and will go around the wholesaler to the manufacture to create the transparency they need to make an informed purchasing decision. A cohesive digital marketplace gives them both the ability to do that. So the wholesaler can either facilitate this process and try and stay of value, or quickly become irrelevant in the purchasing transaction.
Omni Channel Marketing, a term thrown around for some time, simply means a multichannel approach to sales that seeks to provide customers with a seamless shopping experience. Whether they are shopping online from a desktop or mobile device, by telephone, or in a brick-and-mortar store in Sydney or Hong Kong – this will now become mainstream. Clients will expect the ability to see and touch the product at a place of their choosing, whether online or offline or through showrooms – virtual or traditional.
And don’t think this is just a retail offering. We are hearing about many industries looking to go virtual in demonstrating their product’s capabilities, and how it meets their essential requirements. Some are genuinely thinking way outside the square to do this. Picture your potential supplier being 500 metres underground in a mine demonstrating live their new lighting system as you watch from your home in Los Angeles and can ask critical questions live. Think about engineers wearing virtual reality glasses to see your equipment in service, pinpointing subtle differences in how the equipment is operating to advise adjustments, rather than flying across the world to the site as they always have.
Those who truly start blending their marketing strategies or even their service strategies into the digital marketplace and facing up to a world that will demand greater transparency on price, traceability and sustainability and then adjust their business platform accordingly will lead the disruption, not be a victim of it.
Shane Styles

National Skills Development Manager, Export Council of Australia