Anyone who was a teenager in the ’80s or ’90s has fond memories of hanging out at the local mall. Sure, we were there to check out the clothes, but we were also there to see our friends. It was a community. By and large, the essence of that experience remains lacking in online shopping, with all of its speed and efficiency. Anyone can order a chartreuse cashmere sweater online, but there’s nothing like trying it on at the store to see if it complements your favorite jacket. And even better if you can get a friend’s input on the fit and color. The savviest digital natives know this. Warby Parker disrupted the eyeglass business by selling affordable, hip eyewear online. Even though its home [...]
When a fast-moving consumer goods executive was asked why he was so intent on pursuing future growth in a region with unsteady GDP, he quickly replied, “GDP doesn’t drink beer and use hair conditioner. People do.” Indeed, the smartest consumer goods companies are looking beyond the current headwinds that are buffeting many of Asia’s developing markets to two overwhelmingly positive signs: First, the region is home to nearly 50% of the world’s population; second, by any indication, most companies’ moves to capture this vast market are still in their infancy. There’s no question that the fundamentals for growth exist and that things are only going to get better throughout developing Asia. Growth rates have slowed from their dramatic recent highs, but they remain significantly above [...]
The falling cost of software and equipment is helping digital technology spread to parts of the economy that were never possible before. Customers have been some of the biggest beneficiaries of innovation in business today. Chris Brahm, a partner in Bain's Digital practice, explains how in in this short video.
With more companies offering up customers’ personal data for sale, governments are moving to intervene more deeply. In the U.S., for example, the Obama administration has proposed a wide-ranging bill intended to provide Americans with more control over the information that companies collect about them. In Europe, proposed data protection rules are being rewritten to reflect individual nations’ agendas. There’s a real danger that multiple country rules might undermine the internet’s openness. They might also limit user access and create expensive duplicate infrastructures. So companies must get ahead of the threat. Yet many companies still miss the point: In a digital age, this is all about earning their customers’ trust. The thoughtless click of the “agree” box isn’t an agreement in any meaningful sense. It [...]
Providing a great experience for customers has become a credo for many companies today. They realize that a great end-to-end experience will attract and retain customers, as well as engage the enthusiasm and creativity of employees. Customers still want a wireless plan, auto insurance policy or a mortgage with the right features at the right price, but increasingly they also expect at least a convenient, and possibly special, experience surrounding the product or service. And they want interactions to be seamless across physical and digital channels. Bain & Company analysis shows that companies that excel in the customer experience grow revenues 4%–8% above their market. That’s because a superior experience helps to earn stronger loyalty among customers, turning them into promoters who tend to buy [...]
Sellers of everything from dress shirts to handbags and even consumer packaged goods are discovering the value of letting customers create their own unique products. Retailers use Big Data to present a personalized set of products to their customers—it’s been a driving force behind Amazon’s success. Now brands are taking personalization a big step forward into mass customization. They are discovering that they can elevate customer loyalty and engagement—and use their customer base as an engine of advocacy to potential buyers. Product customization helps brands boost sales on their own websites or gain share on a retailer’s site. For example, Pepperidge Farm customers now design Goldfish crackers, and Jawbone customers configure their own Jambox speakers. Trek enables cyclists to build a bike from the ground [...]