The digital revolution has lowered the barrier to entry for creating a new business and it has also moved many shopping experiences online. As a result, the competitive landscape has become more crowded than ever and foot traffic to local stores has declined. This shift has been particularly impactful to brands that sell physical goods. In an effort to survive and compete, these brands are using large ecommerce providers or selling wholesale to acquire customers.
While this approach is understandable and certainly helps in the short term, it can hurt these brands in the long run because, as a result of relying on third party go to market practices, they have lost one of the most important aspects of business, the direct relationship with their customer.
This is detrimental for the brand and business for a few obvious reasons that can impact it today, and not so obvious reasons for tomorrow.
First, you barely know anything about their experience with your product. Think about for a minute. A consumer walks into a store. Buys a guitar. Walks away. And the guitar manufacturer never hears from them again.
The product is at the heart of any experience. How can you give your customers an exceptional experience if you don’t know the experience they are having? If you don't have a relationship, in the micro, you miss the opportunity to help them make the experience better. In the macro, you lose out on all of that data which could have collectively helped you make the product better in the future for all future customers.
Next, not owning the customer relationship is incredibly inefficient. Since you don't know who your customers are, you, as a brand, end up spending a lot of wasted money (5 times the amount) remarketing to your customers instead of turning them into brand advocates who market on your behalf and extend the lifetime of the relationship.
The not so obvious concern is the elephant in the room: Amazon. There has never quite been a company like it. The stats are breathtaking and continue to grow each day. “In 2018, Amazon’s share of the US ecommerce market hit 49%,” according to Big Commerce. “To put things in perspective, this is more than Amazon’s top three competitors combined, with eBay coming in at 6.6%, Apple at 3.9% and Walmart at 3.7%.”
Those numbers mean you have to sell your goods on Amazon. And yet Amazon isn’t just a platform that sells products. It is a company that makes products. Products that might compete with your own one day, your tomorrow. Don’t let them own your customers and the data that could help extend your experience with the customer and keep them for life.
It is time that physical goods companies leveraged technology to regain that relationship with their customers.
The above rallying cry was the genesis for Blustream. We saw this need to put the customer relationships back in the hands of the brands and decided to take action. That’s why we’ve built the first Product Experience Platform. Our mission is to give physical goods companies a direct, informed connection to their customers after they buy their products.
We realize that at the heart of customer engagement is a good product experience. That is why at the heart of the Blustream platform is the Product Journey Manager(™), which allows you to input your product journey into the Blustream platform so, for the first time, you can help influence how a customer experiences your product after the sale.
Real-world-data, like IoT sensors that are connected to the tangible products, will trigger education, alerts and purchase recommendations to end users, ensuring they are getting the most out of their recently purchased product. This ensures they’re getting the right recommendations at the right time. Lastly, Blustream’s platform also collects aggregate usage, environment and performance analytics for brands giving them previously unthinkable access to precious data.
So let’s revisit the guitar example previously mentioned. If that guitar company is a Blustream customer, they’ll have access to valuable data and analytics that will help their end user. For example, a Blustream IoT sensor might be included in that guitar. It would be regularly measuring the humidity in the room in which the guitar is stored. Too much humidity causes long-term damage to the guitar. Since, through Blustream, the guitar company would know this information, it could send an alert to the end-user notifying them the humidity is high. Even more, they could send a recommendation for a one click purchase of the dehumidifier they sell.
Today, companies have no after-sale ongoing customer engagement strategy. And, as the world becomes “smart”, their legacy products need to become connected. This is an urgent problem that needs to be solved. Brands must regain a direct connection and engage with their customers now or they may lose them forever.
While the stakes are high to turn today’s customers into tomorrow’s brand ambassadors, don't worry, Blustream is here to help.