Consumers are driving the digitalization of businesses as they become more familiar with and increase their use of mobile devices as their main access point to the internet, and increase online transactions even faster.
Sweden has a strong and longstanding industrial tradition. Transforming society through great inventions that have led to successful innovations and built some of the largest companies in the world, resulting in a vibrant and dynamic society with a strong tradition for rapid adoption to new technologies. This can also be reflected in the digital era where Swedes spend almost half of their online time on mobile devices¹. This means that, as familiarity and usage of mobiles are or will become the main access point to the internet for your consumers, they are in effect the ones driving the digitalization of your business and the economy.
While Sweden is used to being a frontrunner in technological change (e.g. growth of internet based businesses has been faster than expected and Swedish companies are continuing to grow their online business) we see that other countries are growing even faster². Specially China is showing major consumer behavior changes where large parts of a customers professional and commercial life cycle, from online payments to booking work meetings, restaurants or a taxi can be managed through one single application e.g. Wechat³. And as mobility across borders increase (e.g. 200 million Chinese are expected to travel to Europe by 2020³), consumers will adopt new behaviours at a much faster pace. Higher growth is therefore the likely result for businesses that focus on the digital customer journey and deploy sophisticated digital tools. This, in a promising environment for digital development that will support and award global leaders and local champions who dare to pioneer the opportunities created by the emerging global digital economy.
Speed is therefore the name of the game we all have to play. No longer will it suffice to create 3-5 year corporate strategy plans, since the market is moving too fast. Companies should rather (and many do) formulate a clear wanted position that reflects what kind of business and brand they want to build, rather than just focus on volume and profitability. Customer experience should be in focus rather than only service and customer loyalty/satisfaction KPIs. An area of market leadership should be selected as value chains continue to be dissected. The latter will be a critical and challenging task for large incumbents that may have to opt out of existing areas of their business and partake in a larger digital ecosystem with increasing number of external partners instead.
Some companies are used to seeing themselves as large corporations in their home markets and may have a mentality of “things move slow because we are so large”. Leaders in those companies may wake up one morning and realize that they are instead rather small and slow, as the world becomes increasingly global and customer expectations are set as much from digital experiences outside your home markets as from within.
We see several opportunities for Swedish companies going forward. Almost 75% of Swedes are familiar with online shopping and nearly 25% have made purchases by using mobile devices4. This increased consumption is also being enabled by new payment models and increased trust in digital transactions. In this environment the most successful companies are utilizing their online channels as another way of customer interaction rather than a complement to the existing physical channels. And they are also making better use of their online CRM (or e-CRM), sales analytics, price comparisons and order management than their competitors. For many businesses today, the CRM processes covers all customer segments. In the future however, we believe that they will need to set separate CRM processes for each segment in order to assemble all the necessary customer genome to inform the way they should interact with their customers.
Many companies will struggle to keep up with this fast moving development. Our experiences during the past year show that close to 50% of the companies we meet still lack awareness of the options, time and experience necessary to lead the development.