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Brands: How the cloud can improve your bottom line
As online businesses look for better ways not only to communicate with their customers but to communicate with sales staff and other associates, the cloud is becoming a bigger factor in their business practices. How can brands better use cloud systems?
Carl Theobald, Avangate CEO: [Brands must] lower barriers to market entry - hence the need for tools that help vendors go beyond subscriptions to build effective marketing and support ecosystems, while retaining the ability to support seamless transactions across channels and international markets.
For retailers, the cloud and increasing customers' appetite for pay-as-you-go model mean that it is difficult to succeed in an offline environment--retail chains are closing down branches. However, in this era, retailers have the opportunity to adapt and become "Power Affiliates" or "New Age Retailers." Vendors will need to consider a commerce platform that extends beyond their online store, and helps resellers and distributors/retailers sell software online by including them in the ongoing customer relationship process for ongoing and increasing revenue.
Kristina: And, what do you expect to see in 2013?
Carl: As mentioned, buyer behavior has evolved due to the shift to cloud-based services and solutions. Expectations for servicing the customer at every touch point will increase even more in 2013--from selling within the context of the customer's chosen channels and servicing them when they want service.
Servicing the customer will be a key theme for the software and SaaS vendors, in order for them to succeed and drive sales. We're going to continue to see growing customer expectations for speedy service, add-ons, and pay-as-you-go pricing. With the threat of customers' ability to drop their subscriptions at any time, vendors need a holistic view of the customer engagement process from even before the customer enters the buying phase.
In addition, the simple one-time transactions and fixed monthly subscriptions are no longer enough to assure profitable growth from the digital channel. Digital marketing will also play a greater role to service and engage the customers in an ongoing relationship in order for businesses to not only acquire new customers but also retain existing ones.
Kristina: How will the overall digital space impact brands through the New Year?
Carl: The digital space is getting more and more crowded, because there are more channels to both market and sell. That means there are more opportunities to push your product to more people. And right now, the average person sees fourteen touch points from brands before actually diving into the buying process. The number of touch points will only increase even more moving into the New Year. Brands will have to think of new ways to take advantage of these channels without diluting their core values, messages and product value.
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