With tomorrow’s continuous connections, Active Knowledge will be embedded in everything we do digitally, aware and ready to help us succeed. Embedded ecommerce will help us switch to what’s best. This 1-to-1 marketing channel skips search, eliminates ads and bypasses retail. When our needs are known, instant solutions will be part of everyday life, constantly elevating everyone to the top.
E-commerce looks developed, but we’ve only just begun
The old model was physical retail stores. Get in your car, go to the store, find the products and learn about them by touching them and asking a salesperson questions. Pay the store’s prices.
Today’s online e-commerce is on-screen. Use search to jump to the product, compare it to others, use reviews by customers and analysts, then find the best price and purchase. It’s spectacular for gift giving because presents are wrapped and delivered for you. It’s even better for price comparisons, which is immediate whether you’re online or in a store. Hours of work reduced to a few clicks.
But e-commerce is still a baby, learning to walk as it adds mobile, showrooming, social (like Pinterest), communities and more. Amazon, it’s leader, keeps fighting to stay ahead by adding new Kindle devices, faster delivery from local warehouses, and instantly playable videos to sell immediately usable products.
Tomorrow, online stores will be “yesterday’s” obsolete model. They start with customers having to “go” to them online. Then they stop at purchase and delivery. Their marketing lifecycle is only “find, buy and deliver.” That will be too short.
Tomorrow’s commerce: Part of every use of a connected product or service
The entire product lifecycle will soon enter the marketer’s sandbox: After buying, from “receiving through configuring through using through servicing and upgrading” — every minute of the life cycle enters marketing’s touchpoints.
Is the user having a problem? A gap? Yay!
Every gap is an opportunity to make each customer the world’s best and happiest and greatest — during every minute he or she is using connected products or services.
Active Knowledge will turn use into embedded commerce.
Marketing will be redefined as full product lifecycle connections that are part of everything we do, aware of what we’re doing, knowing the gap between each of us and the world’s best, always ready to help everyone move up to what they want. After delivery, it shows you how to succeed while you use your new product or service, making satisfaction and success normal.
If “the best choice” can be delivered digitally, then the user can move up immediately. Within a minute of being frustrated, you can turn that into the highest level of success.
Embedded e-commerce will tailor itself to all the steps in the product life cycle, holding your hand when you want, making sure you get what you’d like.
Rich prizes will be seized by online retailers and vendor marketing departments that grasp continuous digital connections:
- Awareness of everyone’s immediate needs.
- An embedded relationship, with an opportunity to help instantly during many tasks that include a screen or interactive device.
- User control over displaying Active Knowledge messages, forcing real contributions so they’re not turned off.
- The ability to show gaps and add improvements with an immediate transaction as soon as “more” is wanted.
- Multiple options so everyone advances at the cost and speed they want: Choices will include buying, renting, trying online, sharing or free use.
- Instant “delivery” of online products and services, including physical products that can be run right away by remote control — whether they are bought, rented, shared or used for free.
- A fast-adapting relationship that learns your personal goals and preferred touchpoints, then delivers tailored Active Knowledge that anticipates your needs when you’re likely to have them.
- Two-way loyalty and a “you” focus, because everyone can switch until they find the set of retail and vendor relationships that serve them best — then keep switching as they find better resources.
- Community sharing, with new and better Active Knowledge sources shared widely, producing the usual “winner takes all” growth rates of tech’s leaders.
- This new channel will move inside every part of our digital lives. It will be invisible to competitors: Search will be skipped (uh oh, Google), advertisements eliminated (Google again?) and online retailers bypassed (um, Amazon). Embedded commerce connects vendors and customers at the moment of need, using one-to-one connections to build relationships and communities of successful and satisfied people worldwide.
When some marketing departments do this well, watch out. Their companies’ sales will show it while their competitors will run screaming to catch up — before they’re shut out and shut down by failing to enter the future.
A tipping point will arrive. Some companies will be in, some out. Some will rise up, some fall down.
Some will turn fully alive (oh, what a world-spanning life), and some will… die.
Image credit: The graphic is copyright Dan Abelow.