By Anil Bajpai, Senior Vice President and Head of Research & Innovation, iGATE
There is a major boom in the virtual marketplace owing to the advanced e-commerce solutions and services that are available today. As online commerce continues to grow overall, we are increasingly witnessing strong and continued growth prospects in the business-to-consumer (B2C) market, followed by the evolving trend of “consumerization” in business-to-business (B2B) market solutions.
The B2C experience in a B2B environment:
Today, business customers expect the same level of usability, personalization and functionality in a B2B site that they encounter when visiting B2C retail sites. These business buyers anticipate a similar experience as they access information and place orders in a B2B environment. For the most part, the B2B’s features and functionality lie behind a veil. The user interfaces, features, levels of integration, workflow and business processes are largely proprietary in nature. Ideally, a modern B2B e-commerce platform will incorporate innovations from the consumer world to provide a superior customer experience for business buyers. Trademark impeccable consumer experience include rich and interactive displays, personalized product recommendations and promotions, product reviews from other users, and plenty of content to guide customers to ensure a similar, if not the same experience.
At iGATE, we have recognized the growing importance of multi-channel platforms in the B2B environment, which is being driven by the successful adoption of these platforms in the B2C retail environment. The so-called “omnichannel” shopping experience is becoming the norm, and business executives increasingly want to be able to interact with suppliers and partners using the same techniques they use when ordering through mobile, web and store. According to recent research by IDC Retail Insights, the omnichannel shopper is the gold standard consumer. They are a new breed of shoppers emerging that are empowered, informed and connected. They require marketers to embrace multiple channels and delve deep into the buying psyche of consumers. To gain sales from this segment of shoppers, retailers need to evolve from focusing on one specific channel alone to a unified and converged channel approach that aids a seamless process to deliver the required information across all sales channels.
Retailers to a large extent have come to realize that the failure to deliver the complete package in terms of a unified multichannel buying experience puts overall sales and customer loyalty at risk. To accurately deliver a smooth customer experience, retailers need to be able to flow content and context across all channels with ease and consistency. Ensuring this completed package of information in real-time basis across channels is imperative, and therefore depends on having the best multichannel commerce application in place.
Our partnership with hybris, one of the leading providers of multichannel commerce and communication software, works on a unique proposition to offer an integrated package of consulting skills, business transformation and deployment of e-commerce solutions, to both large and small enterprises. iGATE’s proprietary integrated Technology and Operations model (iTOPS), is a disruptive delivery model and industry first, that enables customers to implement and pay for new technology platforms according to agreed outcomes, such as the number of transactions or records handled. Through this engagement, iGATE will build its hybris-based e-commerce solutions around the iTOPS delivery model, thereby allowing customers to pay for ‘outcomes’ rather than ‘effort’. Working in this partnership with hybris, we are able to join forces and leverage our complementary strengths and assets for an enhanced customer experience.
From an evolution and growth perspective, the retail and manufacturing sector is increasingly seeking expertise in Product Content Management. The customer today has an increasing say in the creation of products which brings in multitudes of variations and complexity. Product information is generated by multiple stakeholders and with a higher frequency and it lies scattered in multiple formats in multiple systems. With this it is difficult to guarantee clean and consistent product information to the interested stakeholders. This has a serious implication on the brand which that product promotes. This problem is compounded manifold for large global manufacturing and retail organization. It is very important that the correct product information is sent to distributors and resellers, partners and customers. Product related information must be analyzed, cleaned and a golden record of the product needs to be stored in a single repository to ensure consistent product information. This centralized control significantly increases the accuracy and efficiency of synchronizing product data across channels. We have recognized this business pain point of the organizations and are investing in enhancing services for Product Content Management.
Collaborating for success:
The commitment to collaborate and synergize with compatible technology partners, promises to deliver significant increases in corporate innovation, productivity and profitability and create new opportunities for dynamic B2B collaboration. Our partnership with hybris, allows for both companies to share information, business prospects and create unmatched capabilities in the evolving and thriving ecommerce market. Organizations that adopt a modern and unified technology approach towards ecommerce platforms stand to gain the flexibility and agility to cut costs, retain customers and grow. With this approach, organizations will achieve and maintain a much desired competitive advantage in the long run.