Guidelines for an optimal P2C strategy

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For many businesses, the tech bottlenecks, product information mazes, and general channel chaos happening in commerce are overwhelming and expensive. Time-consuming channel adoption and tedious data optimization are affecting businesses' ability to grow as unnecessary data and admin fills the space between products and the consumers eager to buy them. Commerce anarchy is real, and it appears to be getting worse.

Whether you are overwhelmed with product data challenges or not, the nature of today's online and offline commerce spaces means you are wasting precious time and resources trying to deal with issues caused by commerce anarchy. A recent report found that businesses were hemorrhaging around 6% in revenue every year because of an inability to deal with omnichannel complexity and manage all the product information value chains (PIVCs) that each company has to take care of today.

P2C: The only means to overcoming commerce anarchy

In today's ultra-competitive global commerce environment, to grow a company's reach, build market share, and enhance brand value, businesses need to implement a product-to-consumer (P2C) strategy that is sound, scalable, and manageable. The strategic management challenge is not, however, about optimizing today's digital processes – they are being determined by consumer behavior. The challenge is to shape future customer relationships in a way that works for the consumers as well as the businesses selling to them.

A comprehensive P2C management strategy – across all channels and products – will transform business efficiency, accelerate new products hitting the market, build customer loyalty, and ultimately drive sales. Read our six tips below on creating an ideal P2C strategy, and start radically rethinking your commerce today.

1. Play the long game! Best results happen over time, not overnight

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Implementing a P2C management strategy will reap some quick benefits. However, the full impact will take time to establish itself. Your strategy should allow for a phased integration of the P2C management systems that support the shift from 2D commerce architecture to 100% 3D commerce systems. If the tactical goal is hassle-free automated channel optimization based on machine-learning software, a phased integration approach would be optimal to avoid interfering with current business or disrupting a business' tech stack. This alone won't deliver on the strategic challenge of overcoming commerce anarchy. To do that, businesses will need to radically rethink commerce by gradually replacing their value chain models. The ultimate goal is to exercise control over how product information value chains are initiated, managed, and responded to globally, as well as to deliver continuous improvement in KPIs via immediate consumer 3D feedback loops.

2. All sales are global! P2C management opens up new horizons

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Once your product information data and media assets are collated, tailored, and optimized for your potential customers, there is effectively no difference between selling to any consumer in your region on one channel and closing sales on the other side of the planet on three others. A single platform will address all markets from hyper-local to global because they are now consolidated as one market opportunity.

The ever-increasing complexity of the multichannel and marketplace commerce space means that businesses must find ways to manage, package, tailor, and optimize their product information, even if they are selling locally. The kind of management strategy required for this task – creating a single management or monitoring point for all commerce – gives vendors the option to sell across more channels and expand globally – without having to integrate more software or P2C management solutions.

Almost all major marketplaces and social commerce channels offer some form of localization or translation services. And we can't forget the transformation of global fulfillment logistics that the COVID-19 pandemic has driven. There are almost no limits anymore to where businesses can sell their products.

The digital paths you create to reach local buyers are the same as the paths you use to move your products to consumers around the globe and across all channels. Without burning more of your time and resources, smart P2C management services will guide your products on both local and global paths.

3. Think 3D commerce! Identify and implement 3D PIVCs

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With commerce anarchy wreaking havoc on businesses' operational capabilities, feedback loops provide the essential, actionable insights companies need to understand how to effectively connect with their buyers – we call this 3D commerce.

The traditional pre-digital value chain models as defined by Michael Porter back in the 1980s are limited in a constantly-connected world. Today, added value depends as much on the way the product is sold as the way its produced.

Consumers are aware of their power and they are no longer happy to play a passive role at the end of the value chain. Today, consumers demand personalized services and tailored product data and assets. The only commerce models that can satisfy consumers' expectations learn instantly from their behavior and integrate that knowledge through feedback loops. Feedback travels back into the vendors' sales process, as well as the manufacturing and buying processes.

To achieve this, the goal of all P2C management strategies should be the complete adoption of 3D commerce systems as a replacement for 2D commerce infrastructure. 3D commerce approaches identify and forge new product information value chains (PIVC). Based on constant feedback, AI-powered automatic optimization of outbound digital flows is more than just a means to close sales. It provides consumers with the kind of experiences they expect from the brands they shop with.

Manually optimized value chain models, or models which require manual optimization, ignore real-time channel disruption or neglect nuanced consumer behavior risk damaging their brand's reputation. A substandard product image, incorrect pricing, or an inaccurate description doesn't just affect individual sales but negatively impacts hard-earned consumer loyalty, revenue, or even profit. In a recent survey of 750 executives working with product information flows, 98%* were either 'very concerned' or 'concerned' that a poorly planned approach to product information value chain management was causing reputational damage to their brands.

The problem is clear. And so is its solution. Build your business and outcompete your rivals by saying goodbye to increasingly redundant 2D commerce retail architecture and hardwire 3D commerce into your product information value chains.

4. Be agile! Good P2C management means scalable campaigns

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As all successful businesses know, scalability isn't just about creating a foundation for future growth. The online and offline commerce calendar has rapidly-changing peaks and dips, which vary from market to market and season to season. So the ability to quickly launch products, follow trends, or scale down campaigns in real-time whenever needed is essential for success.

An agile, scalable P2C foundation demands a systematic approach to controlling, directing, and optimizing a businesses' commerce ecosystem. This calls for comprehensive synergies between product feed optimization, channels, clickstreams, product orders, and content enrichment. Creating a sustainable and scalable campaign infrastructure requires rapid alignment with changing market conditions or channel specificities.

5. Get ahead, stay ahead! Use retail complexity to your market advantage

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Whether you are struggling with commerce anarchy, or you're looking to sustainably increase sales and boost revenue, a P2C strategy can take advantage of the current complexity to help you maintain a competitive edge over your industry peers.

Your new P2C strategy should aim at reducing or even eliminating channel and marketplace optimization processes. This gives you time to focus resources on developing market discovery, launching new products, growing global reach, and cementing your brand's reputation.

While your competitors are swamped by ongoing channel optimization and product information management – leaving their plans for growth lost in a maze of specification updates – your P2C management solution will laser guide your polished product data and branding through your product information value chains and deliver it directly to your customers.

Automating the laborious tasks of optimizing content, marketing, advertising, pricing, campaigns, sales, testing, and fulfillment on each channel reduces retail complexity to very manageable levels. This, of course, increases the chances of higher ROI and profitability.

Complexity is only a problem if you don't have a plan to negotiate your way through it. And those with a strategic P2C plan enjoy an advantage over those who don't.

6. Tech up! Maximize returns by minimizing time and resource spent

Tech up! From a management perspective, your P2C tech solution should enable strategic administration, management, and governance across an unlimited number of stores, catalogs, consumer touchpoints, product items, transactions, and buyers.

But the power behind any successful P2C management strategy is the tech solutions accelerating market alignment and channel expansion. Streamlined methods for reducing unnecessarily manual, time-consuming, and error-prone processes for importing and exporting product information or catalogs and other data is the minimum requirement for any business serious about overcoming commerce anarchy.

Much more comprehensive than product information feed management, the solutions must also create actionable recommendations based on data-driven insights. These recommendations should broadly encompass all aspects of ecommerce: returns, stock, current consumer trends, and digital asset management.

With the digital barriers separating local and global sales disappearing, and offline commerce's continuously changing relationship with its digital counterpart, getting the right products to the right consumers anywhere requires a streamlined approach. Businesses need single management points for successful multicountry, multicloud, multiplatform, multistore, multibrand, or multicurrency commerce. And don't forget vital GDPR, ISO, and other certification regimes to ensure global compliance.

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