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E-Commerce Myths, Trends and Suggestions for a Better Tomorrow
By Michael Wolczyk, Head of E-Commerce, Axa
Most companies feel it’s vital to sail on the digitization wave to stay relevant and avoid being written off as “obsolete”. The past decade has witnessed numerous enterprises transitioning from paper-based processes to the digitized ones. Michael Wolczyk, Head of E-commerce, AXA, however, feels that a digital revamp is much beyond moving away from paper-based processes and demands ingenuity to stay ahead in the race. He opines that customer-centricity, agility, and value proposition are the key factors that organizations can’t afford to overlook while treading the digital path.
An alumnus of Bremerhaven University of Applied Sciences, Michael Wolczyk has essayed key roles in several organizations in a career spanning over a decade. He was earlier associated with reputed organizations such as Digital Marketing Association of Hong Kong, QNET Ltd and Ovolo Hotels. During his tenure so far, Wolczyk has helped AXA achieve numerous noteworthy milestones, which include devising a unique e-commerce strategy, improving revenue for direct products as well as the launch of direct car and home insurances.
Expectations and Reality
A recently conducted corporate survey revealed a startling fact about the product quality perceptions of customers and solution providers. Apparently more than seventy percent of the companies that participated in the survey believed they are customer-centric. On the contrary, merely twenty five percent of their customers agreed with the majority’s belief. Hence, most organizations need to comprehend the reasons for the gap between customers’ expectations and reality, and bridge them quickly to garner more visibility and gain a competitive edge. In his opinion, the best way forward would probably be adoption of an agile operational model, which facilitates the development of products and services by the incorporation of clients’ inputs over a series of iterations.
Recalling the publishing realm for an instance helps picture how a transition from a tradition to sophistication can misfire. Many newspapers and tabloids have recently turned digital to help readers conveniently scroll through current affairs from touch interfaces. However, quite a few publishers tend to overlook usability issues such as tailoring the document to aptly fit the user’s device.
He also adds that digitization shouldn’t merely be restricted to providing accessibility to the published materials through applications or websites aimed at customer satisfaction, but must also be aimed at simplifying and streamlining the internal processes to relieve employees from the hassles of a legacy, paper-based environment, while performing routine tasks.
Suggestions from a Veteran Decision Maker
Collaboration with a partner organization can be the right way forward help gain a competitive edge in the digital space. Enterprises operating across varied sectors should probably focus on their value proposition and rope in an expert to help them gain visibility online. However, apart from devising strategies to help enterprises stay ahead of competitors online, these partners with expertise in digitization should also ensure implementation of cyber security measures. Financial institutions, in particular, offering online services, possess critical information and have often been at the receiving end of cyber threats.
Customer-centricity, agility, and value proposition are key factors that organizations can’t afford to overlook while treading the digital path
The retail sector, which generates significant revenue from online platforms hasn’t been spared by the wrath of miscreants either. The discussion later shifts from the retail landscape to the broader term, “e-commerce”, which definitely can’t be ignored during a conversation about the influence of digital platforms on businesses. Although there has been a significant shift in the purchasing behavior of the masses and an increase in the inclination towards virtual stores, the ecommerce realm isn’t being utilized to its fullest. For instance, the recent years have seen a sharp rise in the online purchase of apparels and perishables. However, insurance procurement through online channels has been relatively uncommon and it’s believed that the frequency of online loan and insurance acquisitions would increase in the near future.
Misconceptions about Digitization and Impact of Virtualization
Several myths surrounding the recent e-commerce revolution and their impact on businesses have been doing the rounds lately. And when it comes to the insurance space, a widespread belief about the future is that agents would fade away with the rise in DIY insurance portals. Web platforms will definitely change the way a product or service will be sold but won’t eliminate the human assistant, an important part of the traditional insurance chain. In fact, digitization would empower agents in the years to come and would eliminate the need to indulge in consultation for insurances of meager amounts. Instead, agents can shift their focus towards insurance plans that demand more emphasis.
Digitization has helped the insurance realm transcend boundaries and isn’t merely confined to health and properties such as cars and dwellings anymore. Lemonade Insurance, an organization belonging to the landscape, has gained visibility for setting an example for covering belongings such as laptops and cameras through its digital channel. Hence, virtual media has opened new avenues for myriad sectors to achieve milestones which until a few years ago seemed impossible.
In addition to adopting the best possible technologies and new customer engagement channels, experts suggest organizations to envision a roadmap for the future. On a lighter note, ‘A fool with a tool is still a fool’ is a quote which suits companies on the brink of a digital revamp, since tools should be acquired to solve business problems and not merely to be equipped with the latest technological trends. The industry veteran concludes by stating that ensuring that every team member is on the same page and striving towards a common goal is quintessential along with equipping teams with the tools required.