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The continuum of the O2O model extends into postsales services: online customer issues associated with returns or faults can be addressed in the physical stores.

each website is a replica of its offline stores. It also follows a long-term domestic and global partnership strategy, seeking to combine the e-commerce market across micro and macro contextual levels. JD.com, a network of convenience stores boasting 25 million customers and 6,000 national suppliers, is creating e-stores on the central JD.com e-commerce platform. Its O2O strategy allows any of its growing customer bases simply to collect goods from online orders from any store nationwide. Its innovative delivery platform also includes fast free delivery, ranging from 15 minutes to an hour after purchase depending on the service. Conventional retailers will have a greater O2O capacity to integrate a whole-systems model of the customer life cycle. The continuum of the O2O model extends into post-sales services: online

customer issues associated with returns or faults can be addressed in the physical stores. Significant commercial gains can thus be accrued by embracing a whole-systems O2O perspective. Mobile data platforms such as tablet computing devices, smartphones and e-books have blended with cloud-

based services to provide richer user experiences and innovative service models. The O2O service model provides fertile ground in which customers and potential customers can engage with service providers in a variety of mobile information platforms, both online and offline.

Dr. Kieran Mervyn currently teaches courses in leadership in the online MBA program at the University of Roehampton, London. He is the leader for the Learning and Leading in a Dynamic Era module, where Roehampton Online students examine skills and best practices relating to leadership in contemporary organizations. He is also codirector of AM2 Partners Ltd, a focused team of management and research consultants.

Put it to work Actionable advice • To satisfy the end user’s growing interest in compelling, engaging and interactive retail spaces and beyond, e-commerce designers employed by retailers must seek novel ways to maintain the current customer base and attract new customers in an aggressive global marketplace. This is important for customer satisfaction and retention. • Designers must identify new ways of translating product information and communicating enticements. Don’t rely on internal expertise; instead, seek knowledge and intelligence beyond the confines of traditional silos normally associated with closed innovation and a firm’s private research and development practices. Considering that business survival rates are highest among firms engaged in innovation practices, it is essential for

designers to ensure that customer buy-in and input take centre stage from day one. • Designers and service providers must focus on a range of components such as the physical interface via innovative prototyping techniques, real-time communication and enacting ideas in the real world before evaluating their effects. Planning, management and evaluation of the underlying logistics and information platform will be a continuing challenge. • Retailers must embrace social media with a robust strategy to promote products and services in online settings in order to generate offline sales. For example, digital coupons can be embedded into offline points of sales (POS) and mobile payment through external QR codes.

january 2015 Entrepreneur

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Entrepreneur Middle East January 2015 | Empowering Excellence  

Dr. Shamsheer Vayalil Parambath, founder and Managing Director VPS Healthcare Group, discusses the GCC for-profit healthcare industry, and h...