The Nordic e-commerce market is growing rapidly. To meet the change in customer needs, PostNord has launched a consultative service to help e-commerce and retail companies to rationalise their logistics and communication and thereby improve profitability.
The service is called PostNord Insight and adapts communication to target groups so that companies reach the right target group in the right channel at the right time.
"The time when price and quality were the most important factors in a purchase has gone. As consumers are offered a wider choice in more channels, consumers are becoming increasingly powerful. This makes it more important than ever for companies to really understand how the consumer thinks and acts," says Mats Lindgren, Director Consulting at PostNord Insight.
Understanding the customer journey
For PostNord's customers, the key to success is to gather data about consumers' new behaviour and translate it into effective communication and smart logistics.
It can be about, for example, streamlining the supply chain strategy in order to increase stock turnover. But also about gaining a better understanding of why certain products sell better than others and how more effective marketing can increase consumer interest.
"By reducing the capital a company has tied up, we help at the same time to improve their profitability. With the right customer insight you can increase customer profitability by at least 20 per cent," says Mats Lindgren.
Analyses the customer's ecosystem
The first step is to gain access to companies' customer data. For PostNord's part, this may involve data that is generated when PostNord is taking care of customers' inventory or distributing goods. This data in turn makes it possible to see how customers behave when making purchases and when they receive and return their packages.
"We don't just look at CRM data, there's also data from customer service, profitability and what triggered the end customer. We then add PostNord's data based on our experiences throughout the whole Nordic region. It's not big data, but there's a lot of data that can be used to identify trends and build hypotheses," says Mats Lindgren.
For example, one company can benefit from communicating on a broad rather than a narrow level in order to better reach its target groups, while other companies achieve better profitability through a clear segmentation of their marketing communication.
"Insight-based business development provides companies with a clear, identified potential for improvement. Insights help us to identify customer-specific solutions that improve companies' profitability while at the same time providing consumers with an enhanced experience," says Mats Lindgren.
What is the role of omnichannel in achieving these insights?
"It depends whether you use omnichannel as a collective term for the media mix or to describe in which channels you meet your end customer. Omnichannel can be used to recruit new customers, to encourage existing customers to buy more or to prevent churn.
"At PostNord we use omnichannel solutions to help our customers succeed in their communication, which creates more logistics and in turn increases the need for communication. When, for example, a purchase is completed, we know a great deal about the customer and can use the logistics relating to the package to be more relevant in our customer communication. For example, by inserting a mailing with a special offer for a friend or rewarding a loyal customer by offering free returns."
What is the greatest challenge of omnichannel?
"The challenge lies in better understanding the customer journey both in physical stores and on e-commerce platforms, and being able to use these insights to improve profitability. It's ultra-complex, the major physical retail chains are good at logistics and maintaining a presence in people's lives, but they need to work on their digital communication flows. Online stores, on the other hand, need to find ways of being present in customers' lives even when they're offline."
What is the challenge when using automatic communication?
"Communicating personally with customers is a major challenge, it's not enough to use automated communication flows. It's no longer about brand-building and mass communication – one-to-one communication is a prerequisite nowadays if the customer dialogue is to be relevant," says Mats Lindgren.
He emphasises the importance of insight – the whole point of the PostNord Insight consultancy service. "Insights into customer data, and thereby the customer journey, often create aha! experiences. Who should the company communicate with, when, where and how? And what is the effect of this? This has an impact not only on the company's ROI, but also on which tone of voice should be used in the company's communication to better cut through the background noise."
Mats Lindgren's four key factors for achieving success:
• Identify where you should focus.
• Calculate the potential of what income your focus can generate.
• Optimise all channels and use them in the right way.
• Be personal and be relevant.