Becoming indispensable: Moving past e-commerce to NeXT commerce

A successful transition to the next horizon of digital commerce requires companies to get real about being customer first and make some hard choices.

Companies are in danger of missing the next e-commerce wave.
With e-commerce sales doubling in the past five years¹ and markets expected to almost double again by 2026,² companies are making sizable investments in their e-commerce capabilities. The problem is that many of these companies are locked into an increasingly outdated view of e-commerce as a “bolt-on” to the main business.
This approach to e-commerce needs a big upgrade grounded in a commitment to become indispensable to the customer through an exponentially deeper level of engagement online and offline. Delivering on this vision requires companies to put digitally driven commerce at the center of their organizations so they can orchestrate experiences that meet customers’ ever-rising expectations. We call this next horizon of value NeXT commerce.
This is not some far-flung fantasy. Some large incumbent companies are generating tens of millions of dollars in new value through a deeper commitment to digitally driven commerce, and they’re doing it quickly. Many more, however, are struggling to make the leap or are scared off by cost or channel-conflict concerns.
To understand what shifts are needed and how incumbents are making them, we surveyed nearly 50 senior commercial executives, discussed the future of e-commerce with more than 75 business leaders, and analyzed the more than 1,000 digital-commerce programs we’ve helped clients implement over the past three years.
Three core findings emerged from this research:

Six global forces, from rapidly shifting customer behaviors to a proliferation of new technologies, are exerting massive pressures on legacy business models.
—Successful companies are becoming indispensable to their customers by using digital to move past basic transactions and provide experiences that solve a much broader set of their customers’ problems.
—Many companies are avoiding the hard choices they need to make, often because of internal politics, fear of channel conflict, and large gaps in capabilities and tech, thereby missing out on the full potential value available to them.

Why now for NeXT
Making the leap to NeXT commerce is based on a recognition that digitally driven commerce is the future of business. Six
important trends are forcing the issue:
1.
Accelerating e-commerce. All signs point to strong growth ahead in B2C and B2B, with e-commerce set to grow more than 12 percent each year through 2026.1 The executives we surveyed expect total digital revenues to grow, on average, from 20 percent to 31 percent of total sales from 2022–24.2 There are at least 25 million “high-potential” digital customers in the United States and Europe who tried e-commerce for the first time during COVID but have not fully adopted it.3
2.
Fast-changing customer behaviors. Digital adoption rates over the course of COVID doubled around the globe, and a sample of leading executives expects that trend to continue.⁴ Social commerce, for example, is expected to more than double from 2021–25.⁵
3.
Sky-high customer expectations. Each successful digital innovation raises the customer-expectation bar for everyone else—Tik Tok for video, Amazon for convenience, Alibaba for relevance, to name just a few. If companies can’t meet rising expectations, customers will leave. Some 74 percent of B2B customers want product availability shown online, while 72 percent want to be able to buy through any channel they want.⁶
4.
Less-forgiving capital market expectations. The current approach to e-commerce is unsustainable for many companies, particularly in consumer businesses. Some three-quarters of retailers, for example, had negative EBIT margin growth, even as e-commerce became a larger share of revenue.⁷ The market is now punishing that strategy. A sample of North American e-commerce companies, for example, saw an average decline of more than 10 percent in EV/EBITDA from 2018–22, versus a decline of 2 percent for companies in general.⁸
5.
Massive advances in tech and data. New technologies have evolved to massively accelerate scale and speed. 5G has made data consumption cheaper and better for consumers, while the cloud has provided companies with enormous computational power for lower costs. Advances in AI and machine learning have enabled mind-blowing analytic capabilities and intelligence, while tech is enabling automation in almost every aspect of operations.
6.
Competitive pressures. B2B and B2C companies are facing crushing competitive forces from two sides. From one side, large, digital-first companies are harnessing their advantages to move into new markets, potentially threatening every established sector. From the other side, a proliferation of start-ups are launching innovative business models that can quickly scale. Funding for e-commerce start-ups reached a record $54 billion in 2021, up from $19 billion in 2020.⁹

What to do: Focus on the three Cs—customer, customer, customer
Most leaders’ thinking about e-commerce is too small. Time and again, we see companies trying to optimize existing products, services, or processes, thinking along the lines of “How can we improve our widget?” instead of “How can we better serve our customers?” To become indispensable to customers, companies need to develop a radically deeper and broader understanding of what their customers really want and how to provide it.
Making that shift starts with answering three questions.

  1. Are you serving your customers or your stakeholders across channels?
    Few will have missed the explosion in the number of channels (and variation across those channels), from live commerce to the nascent metaverse. As of the end of 2021, B2B customers were typically using ten channels to complete their buying journeys, up from just five in 2016 (Exhibit 1).³
    Channel strategy can look a bit like a game of whack-a-mole, with businesses rolling out new channels in an effort to “catch up” to their customers and, as a result, trying to manage a dizzying array of channels, each with its own tech stack or data models. This creates major limitations on creating seamless and scalable customer journeys.
    NeXT commerce brands have instead pursued a “headless” channel strategy, where no single channel is favored over another, in order to serve customers wherever they are, online and off. They have built fully integrated customer, inventory, and order management systems that manage data and experience flows across channels and inventory locations based on what customers prefer rather than on how systems are set up.
    Grainger embraced this headless approach to provide whatever its customers needed by installing vending machines on factory floors so workers could access parts immediately. The machines are connected to automatic replenishment systems. The company also developed and continually added a range of services to its website and mobile app, such as access to previous orders, 24/7 customer service, and advanced search, as well as e-procurement and digital stock-fulfillment solutions. These digitally driven initiatives are now responsible for 75 percent of Grainger’s revenue.

7 Excellent Disruptive Marketing Tips Every Brand Needs To Know About

Disruptive marketing is more than just a buzzword. In the age of the customer, the only way to stay competitive is by rethinking your traditional marketing practices and rules you are playing by. As the way customers understand, react to and accept companies has changed, marketers must take more risks and increasingly trust their intuition.

In fact, today’s distraction-filled world where consumers are exposed to ~10,000 brand messages per day has made disruption highly relevant.

But what does disruptive marketing strategy entail and how can brands utilize it to boost their marketing efforts?

What is disruptive marketing?

Disruptive marketing means turning all the marketing rules upside down, shaking things up, and changing the perception of your company and the industry as a whole.

In other words – disruptive marketing is all about:

• Breaking the status quo

• Experimenting with new techniques

• Challenging the traditional marketing approach

Geoffrey Colon, the author of the book Disruptive Marketing: What Growth Hackers, Data Punks, and Other Hybrid Thinkers Can Teach Us About Navigating the New Normal, explains that we now live in a world where conversations win over hard selling. It’s a place where users create the best content about brands; people focus on feelings, and analytics with creativity are the cornerstones of growth.

In fact, back in 2017 the Wunderman study found that 88% of consumers in the U.S. and 90% in the U.K. want to engage with brands that are:

• Setting new standards

• Going beyond the expected

• Pushing the boundaries

In this setting, traditional marketing has to be replaced by disruptive marketing that is daring and breaks the status quo.

Moreover, disruptive marketing encourages companies to rethink the whole brand, not just its advertising and marketing campaigns.

They have to be ready to change their business model, product or service, and the message they communicate to consumers. It can be a risky mission, but sticking to the same business model over a long time can be even more dangerous.

Why does disruptive marketing work

But what does disruptive marketing strategy entail and how can brands utilize it to boost their marketing efforts?

What is disruptive marketing?

Disruptive marketing means turning all the marketing rules upside down, shaking things up, and changing the perception of your company and the industry as a whole.

In other words – disruptive marketing is all about:

• Breaking the status quo

• Experimenting with new techniques

• Challenging the traditional marketing approach

Geoffrey Colon, the author of the book Disruptive Marketing: What Growth Hackers, Data Punks, and Other Hybrid Thinkers Can Teach Us About Navigating the New Normal, explains that we now live in a world where conversations win over hard selling. It’s a place where users create the best content about brands; people focus on feelings, and analytics with creativity are the cornerstones of growth.

In fact, back in 2017 the Wunderman study found that 88% of consumers in the U.S. and 90% in the U.K. want to engage with brands that are:

• Setting new standards

• Going beyond the expected

• Pushing the boundaries

In this setting, traditional marketing has to be replaced by disruptive marketing that is daring and breaks the status quo.

Moreover, disruptive marketing encourages companies to rethink the whole brand, not just its advertising and marketing campaigns.

They have to be ready to change their business model, product or service, and the message they communicate to consumers. It can be a risky mission, but sticking to the same business model over a long time can be even more dangerous.

Why does disruptive marketing work

There are two types of market disruptions:

• Novelty – fulfils customer’s needs in a new way offering a completely new product or service.

• Adoption – improves the current product or service and makes it faster, better or cheaper.

Whichever way you choose, disruptive marketing has several aspects that make it a robust strategy:

• Approachability. Disruptive marketing tells a story that customers can easily understand. And effective brand storytelling is invaluable in the times when consumers are 22 times more likely to remember a fact if it has been embellished with a story. Why? Because stories can elicit an emotional response – they’re designed to make us think and feel.

• Affordability. Disruptive marketing does not have to be expensive to be effective. Instead, it has to change the way things are done and challenge how people are thinking about your product.

• Curiosity. It’s unique, so it attracts people and intrigues them, making them look for more information. In 2015 84% of consumers said it is somewhat or very important that the brand they buy from is innovative. But in the post-pandemic era, this has become essential! New problems require new solutions, and modern consumers crave products that deliver novelty and fun. Therefore, audiences love disruptive marketing campaigns because they make them think in completely new directions.

• It’s never duplicated. The top brand attributes that matter the most to millennials are:
 

• Trustworthiness

• Creativeness

• Intelligence

• Authenticity

• Open communication

Disruptive marketing integrates all of these attributes, and it can’t be easily duplicated. If another company tries the same tactics or positioning, it will most likely be ignored as customers will favour the ones who did it first.

• There’s room for experiments. While traditional marketing places your brand in a ‘category’, disruptive marketing allows not to stick to the rules. As a first-mover, you can freely try out new things and new industries too.

Why is disruptive marketing so important today

There are three most relevant reasons why you need to hop on a disruptive marketing trend:

• Rapid technology development

• New generation of consumers

• Oversaturated market

Rapid technology development

PWC did extensive research on the permanent change that occurred in consumers’ habits and values during COVID-19 and found that 50% of them have become more digital.

This resulted in new social media trends, such as short-form vertical videos. If you’re wondering how this impacts your traditional marketing, keep in mind that users, on average, watch over 24 hours of content per month on TikTok. And this particular social media platform started influencing all of the other ones.

This means you’re now competing with millions of content creators, a short attention span, and a completely new demand at the same time.

New generation of consumers

Approximately 50% of the American workforce is made up of millennials. And this number is expected to go up to 75% in the next couple of years.

They’ve been your loyal customers for quite some time now, and you probably adjusted your campaigns to their set of values and needs.

But what about your soon-to-become customers? Generation Z is much more extreme and vocal than their predecessors. They were born in the digital era and grew up surrounded by rich media that occupy their senses 24 hours a day.

So how do you adjust your marketing strategy to appeal to your new customers?

You start experimenting and setting your own rules that make you unique while respecting generation Z’s needs and values. Here’s some valuable data from the Gen Z brand relationships report by NRF:

• Genuine connection with brands (73% of them want brands and retailers to connect with them)

• Two-way communication (44% said that, if given the opportunity, they would like to submit ideas for product design)

• New and trendy brands (62% of them are frequently attracted to new, trendy, and fun brands)

• Social responsibility (55% choose eco-friendly and socially responsible brands)

Wondering how to make your brand more socially responsible? Cause marketing is the best way to promote your business while fighting for the social issues you care about.

Oversaturated market

Competition in many industries is getting more intense each day. Here’s how increased competitiiveness is driving disruption in marketing:

• Catering to customers’ needs. If you can’t offer them what they need the way they want it, they’ll simply go to one of your competitors.

• Scales of power balance have shifted. The fact that they can replace you almost immediately is scary, but it won’t hurt your business immediately. But blasting your company on social media after a poor customer experience can seriously damage your brand’s reputation. And we’ve learned from Chanel’s Advent calendar fiasco that your competition will use this to their advantage.

Sell on Amazon

Sell On Amazon: 7 Steps

Competition in the ecommerce space is fierce – especially when it comes to Amazon. 

But that doesn’t mean you can’t be successful with it. I’ve written this guide to help you start your Amazon empire the right way. And, I’ve worked with 22 top Amazon experts to offer real advice – not just the same generic thing you get from many other guides like this. 

These experts are a mix of successful Amazon sellers, digital marketing consultants who’s job focuses on helping Amazon entrepreneurs scale their businesses, and more. 

As you’ll see in these Amazon statistics, Amazon is the largest online retailer. Selling your products there lets you earn a piece of the pie and helps expose your brand to new customers.

Ready to start selling on Amazon? Read this 7 step beginner’s guide to make sure you set yourself up for profit.

Learn How Selling On Amazon Works

You’ll pay fees to sell on Amazon. Amazon now hides its individual selling plan, which allows you to pay a $0.99/item fee. This is the option you want if you’re not ready to commit to a monthly subscription fee. 

The professional seller account is $39.99/month and does not charge per-item fees. If you’re serious about learning how to sell on Amazon, you’ll likely make more than $39.99 a month selling products there, so it’s worth the investment.

1. Thoroughly check all Amazon seller program policies, including the Seller Code of Conduct and other general policies, Product and Listing Requirements, Shipping and Tax Policies, as well as the Product Page Style Guide.

2. Join Facebook groups for Amazon Sellers – there you will find a great source of inspiration, best practices and support. Here are some of them I can strongly recommend: The Amazon Sellers NetworkFBA Ninjas!Amazon Selling for BeginnersAmazon FBA Beginner Mastery.

3. Use software to help you automate the process of starting, maintaining and optimizing your Amazon listings. The Orange Klik YouTube channel contains short demos of the relevant tools on the market. You can also check out Sellzone.

And my final advice to those thinking about starting an Amazon business – don’t be afraid, and give it a try! Recently, I interviewed a 70-year-old woman successfully running an Amazon business, her story is incredible and very inspiring. Just being brave, you can make your dream come true! 

You’ll also pay referral fees, which are a percentage of the selling price. This percentage varies, depending on the product’s category. For some categories, the fee is as much as 17%. If you’re selling products in the media category, you will also pay variable closing fees.

If you fulfill orders yourself, Amazon shipping rates apply. The rates are based on the product category, as well as the shipping service the buyer chooses. 

Retail Arbitrage 

If you visit a local retail store, buy something, then resell it through an online marketplace, you’re using retail arbitrage to make money. At first, it may not seem like this method would work. The key, however, is catching the retail products on sale or clearance, so you can maximize your profit.

Use the Amazon Seller app to scan clearance and sales products you find at your local retailers. If you find items that offer more than $3 profit after fees and shipping, you should list them on Amazon. 

You can get started immediately, after you register for your Amazon seller account and download the Amazon Seller app. Use this list of retailers to build up your inventory:

• Bed Bath & Beyond

• Best Buy

• Big Lots

• CVS

• Home Depot

• Lowes

• Meijer

• Menards

• Michael’s

• Office Depot

• Rite Aid

• Shopko

• Staples

• Target

• Walgreens

• Walmart

Why do you need the Amazon Seller app? It will give you the exact fees you’ll pay to sell it, which helps you make an informed decision about what to buy and sell. 

While the $3+ profit is important, you also should make sure that you are eligible to sell the items. Ideally, the sales rank is under 250,000, and your ROI is more than 50%.

White Labeling

When you white label a product, you’re taking something that is re-brandable and resellable from one company – putting your brand on it and selling it yourself. 

A manufacturer produces generic products or services. The marketer (you) buys the products and rebrands them to make them yours. Then, the customer buys directly from you. 

New Amazon sellers often find it easier to use white label products since it makes it easier to focus efforts on marketing rather than product research. Popular white labeling options include:

• Water bottles

• Smartphone accessories

• Essential oils

• Cosmetics

Private Labeling

If you want something more exclusive than white labeling, you can look into private label products. Where white label products are generic and sold to any business, the private label is a brand exclusive to you. 

Take for instance, acetaminophen – it’s a white label product sold to any retailer who wants to create their own brand of pain reliever. Equate, however, is the exclusive Walmart private label brand – used for acetaminophen and countless other products throughout the store. Great Value is another private label brand from Walmart.

Affiliate Marketing

If you’re not into sourcing your own products to sell on Amazon, you may consider an Amazon affiliate business. Instead of signing up for a Seller Central account, you’ll sign up to join the Amazon Affiliate program, known as Amazon Associates. You’ll choose the products you want to earn a commission from, then advertise them on your own website. By including affiliate links to those products on your website, you’ll earn a percentage of the sale each time someone uses your link to make a purchase.

Rather than Seller Central, you’ll manage your products and sales from the Affiliate Central dashboard. This approach gives you a way to sell on Amazon without having to invest in anything other than your own website.

Dropshipping On Amazon

In dropshipping, you don’t keep products on hand. Instead, you purchase products from a third-party, who then ships the products to your customer for you. Your customer never knows the products didn’t come from you. 

Dropshipping is a popular ecommerce business model, but when it comes to Amazon, there are a lot of rules. Amazon requires you to always be the seller of record. You must identify yourself as the seller on everything related to the product, including:

• Invoices

• Packing slips

• Any other information related to the products

You’re also required to remove anything that identifies the third-party seller before you ship the order, including the above. And of course, you’re responsible for accepting and processing returns.

Pros and Cons of Selling on Amazon

Amazon is full of third-party sellers, and when done right, you can be one of the successful ones. That doesn’t mean, however, that there aren’t some drawbacks worth considering.

Pros

• It’s easy to get started as an Amazon Seller, even if you’re a beginner.

• If you’ve got an exclusive product and a decent profit margin, you can benefit from the Amazon partnership.

• Potential for more sales because Amazon has so much traffic

• Low marketing costs

• No need to carry stock

Cons

• Sellers can hijack your listings. They use your legitimate Amazon Standard Identification Numbers (ASIN) to list counterfeit products. Those sellers get all your marketing effort, and you get all the bad reviews for the fake product on your actual listing.

• Amazon fees add up quickly. If you don’t have a considerable margin, you may lose it by paying Amazon.

• You don’t get control of the experience for customers.

• You’ll still be responsible for customer care and nurturing – even if Amazon fulfills your orders for you.

Amazon vs. Selling on Shopify or Other Ecommerce Platforms

When you sell on the Amazon marketplace, you have to play by the rules. If you sell on your website or another platform like Shopify, you’re not as locked into specifics. You have more control over the customer experience and checkout process. 

Since many platforms like Shopify and BigCommerce allow for omnichannel selling, you can leverage the marketplace on Amazon without exclusively selling there. 

It’s worth noting that you’ll have fees and restrictions regardless of the route you take. Even if you don’t use something like Shopify, you’ll have hosting fees and transaction fees due to your payment processor. Certain products will be off-limits per your web host and payment processor. This is why doing niche research ahead of time makes such a difference.

For instance, if you want to sell products on your own site through PayPal, you cannot sell:

• Any products that present a risk to consumer safety (narcotics, steroids, etc.)

• Cigarettes

• Drug paraphernalia

• Anything that encourages, promotes, facilitates, or instructs others to engage in any illegal activity

• Stolen goods, including digital ones

“Before you begin with selling on Amazon it’s always a good idea to skim through their policies because marketplaces like Amazon are very strict about the process. There is also an important difference between selling on Amazon as a brand owner or as a reseller because each option has different steps that you need to take. For example, as a brand owner you want to go to Amazon first and register yourself in their Brand Protection program.”

Business Plan

How To Write a Perfect Business Plan

A great business plan can help you clarify your strategy, identify potential roadblocks, decide what you’ll need in the way of resources, and evaluate the viability of your idea or your growth plans before you start your business.

Not every successful business launches with a formal business plan, but many founders find value in taking time to step back, research their idea and the market they’re looking to enter, and understand the scope and the strategy behind their tactics. That’s where writing a business plan comes in.

Table of Contents

• What is a business plan?

• Why write a business plan?

• Business plan formats

• How to write a business plan, step by step

• Tips for creating a small business plan

• Common mistakes when writing a business plan

• Business planning gives you a foundation for growth

What is a business plan?

A business plan is a document describing a business, its products or services, how it earns (or will earn) money, its leadership and staffing, its financing, its operations model, and many other details essential to its success.

Why write a business plan?

Investors rely on business plans to evaluate the feasibility of a business before funding it, which is why business plans are commonly associated with getting a loan. But there are several compelling reasons to consider writing a business plan, even if you don’t need funding.

Strategic planning

Writing out your plan is an invaluable exercise for clarifying your ideas and can help you understand the scope of your business, as well as the amount of time, money, and resources you’ll need to get started.

Evaluating ideas

If you’ve got multiple ideas in mind, a rough business plan for each can help you focus your time and energy on the ones with the highest chance of success.

Research

To write a business plan, you’ll need to research your ideal customer and your competitors—information that will help you make more strategic decisions.

Recruiting

Your business plan is one of the easiest ways to communicate your vision to potential new hires and can help build their confidence in the venture, especially if you’re in the early stages of growth.

Partnerships

If you plan to approach other companies to collaborate, having a clear overview of your vision, your audience, and your business strategy will make it much easier for them to identify whether your business is a good fit for theirs—especially if they’re further along than you in their growth trajectory.

Competitions

There are many business plan competitions offering prizes such as mentorships, grants, or investment capital. To find relevant competitions in your industry and area, try Googling “business plan competition + [your location]” and “business plan competition + [your industry].”

If you’re looking for a structured way to lay out your thoughts and ideas, and to share those ideas with people who can have a big impact on your success, a business plan is an excellent starting point.

Business plan formats

Business plans can span from one page to multiple pages with detailed graphs and reports. There’s no one way to create a business plan. The goal is to convey the most important information about your company for readers. 

Common types of business plans we see include, but are not limited to, the following:

• Traditional. These are the most common business plans. Below, we’ll cover the standard elements of a business plan and go into detail for each section. Traditional business plans take longer to write and can be dozens of pages long. Venture capitalist firms and lenders ask for this plan. 

• Lean. A lean business plan is a shorter version of a traditional business plan. It follows the same format, but only includes the most important information. Businesses use this plan to onboard new hires or modify existing plans for a specific target market. 

• Nonprofit. A nonprofit business plan is for any entity that operates for public or social benefit. It covers everything you’ll find in a traditional business plan, plus a section describing the impact the company plans to make. For example, a speaker and headphone brand that aims to help people with hearing disabilities. Donors often request this plan. 

How to write a business plan in 9 steps 

1. Draft an executive summary

2. Describe your company

3. Perform a market analysis

4. Outline the management and organization

5. List your products and services

6. Perform customer segmentation

7. Define a marketing plan

8. Provide a logistics and operations plan

9. Make a financial plan

Vendere Servizi anziche’ prodotti. Simply explained

Vendere Servizi anziche’ prodotti.

Vendere servizi online può sembrare complesso. In realtà è molto più semplice che vendere prodotti fisici.

Vendere servizi online, intesi come servizi intangibili, potrebbe sembrare un’operazione complessa.

In realtà non lo è, a condizione che tu segua un approccio che permetta alle persone di capire chi sei, cosa fai, e il valore reale che offri. Passaggi naturali capaci di costruire una vera e propria relazione tra te e il tuo clienti.

Vediamo come fare in questo approfondimento dedicato alla vendita di servizi online.

Vendere servizi online: quanto è utile un blog?

Il blog è ancora lo strumento migliore per vendere servizi online. Non tanto per il tipo di tecnologia – tutt’altro (un ecommerce sarebbe sicuramente già meglio predisposto alla vendita) – quanto perché il blog si presta, con naturalezza a creare il miglior percorso per arrivare alla vendita finale.

Con un semplice blog puoi rendere dei perfetti sconosciuti consapevoli dell’esistenza del tuo mondo di servizi online intangibili. Puoi offrire delle prove, dimostrare in modo concreto ciò che puoi fare per loro, e permettergli di compiere i primi passi verso il loro obiettivo.

Non leggere tutto questo come “allora devo lavorare gratis”. Tutt’altro. Tu stai costruendo una relazione, stai costruendo fiducia nelle loro menti, Solo così potrai accompagnarli ad acquistare servizi completi: le soluzioni reali capaci di risolvere i loro problemi e le loro frustrazioni.

Puoi fare tutto questo acquistando traffico dai social? Certo, ma avrai bisogno di pagine tue, di tua proprietà, per poi spostare queste persone sui tuoi contenuti e, di conseguenza, fargli seguire il percorso che hai immaginato per loro.

È il tuo blog, la tua casa, sono le tue regole.

Vendere un servizio intangibile con un blog? Ma veramente?

Potresti pensare che un potenziale cliente sia in difficoltà nell’acquistare, poiché non riesce a toccare con mano un servizio online intangibile, ma è vero solo in parte.

Infatti, se è vero che nessuno compra una soluzione “senza vederla” è anche vero che possiamo “fargli toccare” il nostro servizio. Abbiamo la possibilità di mostrarlo con foto, parole e altro materiale: le persone possono immaginare come si sentiranno quando lo avranno comprato. Assaporano, in anteprima, il gusto della trasformazione che la nostra soluzione porterà nelle loro vite.

Le persone acquistano esperienze, acquistano risultati, gli stessi che noi andremo a promettere con il nostro percorso di vendita.

Ecco perché puoi anche vendere servizi di consulenza, non occorre un prodotto reale, Puoi vendere benissimo consulenze online, a condizione che tu abbia prima sviluppato questo rapporto di fiducia. Vogliamo riepilogarlo:

• Da sconosciuti a consapevoli della tua esistenza. Fase 1: consapevolezza. Devi renderli consapevoli che esisti. Quale miglior modo che utilizzando contenuti capaci di posizionarsi sui motori di ricerca? L’ottimizzazione SEO è vitale se non vuoi svenarti spendendo sull’acquisto di traffico social.

• Da curiosi a convinti del modo in cui ti proponi. Fase 2: coinvolgimento. Esponiti, mettici la faccia, parla in modo chiaro: fai capire come ti muovi, perché fai le cose nel modo in cui le fai. Se piaci, bene, se non piaci, meglio se ne vadano.

• Da convinti a entusiasti delle tue prime soluzioni. Hai offerto un aiuto gratuito? Hai risolto un loro primo problema in modo incredibile? Sono entusiasti? Bene, ci siamo. Ora aspettano solo la tua migliore offerta.

Realizzare tutto questo con un semplice blog? Si, senza alcun dubbio.

Come vendere servizi online: quattro regole fondamentali

Sono 4 le regole fondamentali quando vuoi vendere servizi on line:

• Definire il pubblico a cui vuoi rivolgerti. Queste persone (le tue Buyer Personas, rappresentazioni virtuali dei tuoi clienti ideali) avranno delle esigenze specifiche, vivranno delle frustrazioni più o meno sentite, vorranno raggiungere obiettivi e sogni.

• Modellare un servizio basato solo sulle necessità reali del tuo pubblico, capace di generare un risultato concreto. Ovvero, risolvere il problema che queste persone vivono.

• Creare un sistema di offerte straordinario, di valore sempre crescente (la scala dei servizi, anche detta Value Ladder), capace di rendere, al tempo stesso, accessibili e irresistibili tutti i tuoi servizi.

• Progettare contenuti e micro contenuti capaci di spostare gli individui all’interno del tuo mondo di prodotti e servizi, capaci di realizzare quelle micro conversioni tipiche del viaggio dell’acquirente (Buyer’s Journey).

Se tutto questo ti sembra troppo complicato, credimi è solo una questione di organizzazione e idee chiare. Con il mio team ho realizzato decine di business online, ed è straordinario quanto sia facile vendere servizi online con un blog.

Al solito: i contenuti sono l’essenza del web. Ogni cosa è contenuto. Dunque, anche i tuoi prodotti e i tuoi servizi sono contenuti, con una sostanza e una forma.

I contenuti lavorano per te e, tra le altre cose, sono perfettamente in grado di vendere online anche servizi di “grande valore” (o in altre parole: ad alto prezzo). Importante è non dimenticare la costruzione della relazione. Salta dei passaggi, e il tuo interlocutore rimarrà spaesato, senza una direzione e spesso anche infastidito.

È ovvio che la qualità del tuo servizio, come ti distingui dalla concorrenza e, soprattutto, come le tue offerte riescano a far percepire il valore reale offerto, fa tutta la differenza del mondo.

Vendere servizi online: la differenziazione e il buco nero delle commodity

Il problema più grande con la vendita dei servizi online è che molte aziende e professionisti sono abituati a vendere il servizio in sé e basta. Questo è quello che vedo accadere spesso.

Immagina: sono un geometra, ti vendo il servizio di presentazione della SCIA (il documento specifico, che devi depositare per dare inizio ai lavori). È un documento obbligatorio, che serve, e deve essere presentato in comune. Come puoi ben capire, per una persona qualsiasi, che non ha quasi mai nulla a che fare con un geometra, venire da me o andare da un altro è esattamente la stessa cosa. Questo perché stai riducendo il servizio a una commodity, ovvero a un qualcosa che è “sempre uguale”. Serve quel documento, quanto tempo ci vuole? Quanto costa?

È la stessa cosa se vendi una consulenza on line: non farlo come gli altri, altrimenti verrai considerato solo ed esclusivamente per il prezzo. 

Quando ti vendi, o meglio quando vendi servizi online, riducendoli a semplici commodity entri nella guerra dei prezzi. E l’epilogo è sempre lo stesso: ne uscirai con le ossa rotte.

Se vuoi vendere on-line, o anche offline direi, devi puntare a un unico concetto: differenziazione.

Come ti differenzi? Smettendo immediatamente di pensare ai tuoi servizi come a delle commodity.

Come vendere un prodotto o servizio: il mio approccio alla differenziazione.

Voglio espormi in prima persona, perché mi interessa che tu capisca bene questo discorso. Prendiamo come esempio il mio lavoro. Chiunque potrebbe venire da me e chiedermi “Ho bisogno di creare un blog, mi dici quanto costa?”.

Al di là della domanda (come vedi mi stanno proprio considerando una commodity), è chiaro che se io rispondessi 1000, o 800, o 1400, o 3000 l’unica cosa che vedrebbe la persona è il prezzo. E immediatamente, lo paragonerebbe al blog che ha in testa: “suo cugino conosce un tizio che li fa senza partita iva nel garage a meno di 100 euro”.

È persa in partenza. E tuttavia, io di blog ne vendo decine.

Il problema è che io non vendo semplicemente servizi come fossero prodotti. Io vendo processi. E il processo è la realizzazione di te stesso attraverso lo sviluppo del tuo business online.

Vendita servizi online: dall’essenza del problema alla modellazione del prodotto, fino alla realizzazione dell’offerta

In parole semplici:

• prendo la tua idea di business,

• inizio a valutarla assieme a te;

• la mettiamo su carta;

• la confrontiamo con quella dei tuoi competitor;

• la rendiamo unica, precisa e dedicata a un target di persone interessate;

• la realizziamo su piattaforma WordPress e Genesis Pro, che è il framework per WordPress e per blog più sicuro e performante al mondo.

Non solo (aggiungiamo valore!):

• ti ospito il blog su WpEngine, il provider più performante su questa terra, quando si parla di blog e siti web in WordPress;

• ti garantisco un Google Page Speed sempre sopra al 90% (siti veloci come missili) sia su Desktop che su Smartphone. 

E inoltre (aoh: parlavo di offerte straordinarie no?)

• ti metto a disposizione il mio portale di formazione, per approfondire ogni aspetto di quello che fai, con corsi di formazione professionali, che utilizziamo per tutti i nostri clienti e per i miei studenti.

Poi, se vuoi, ti vendo anche percorsi personalizzati opzionali, così puoi addirittura costruire l’offerta come meglio ti aggrada.

Riesci a dare immediatamente un prezzo a tutto questo? NO.

Esatto. È esattamente questo che deve essere. Riesci a paragonarmi a qualcun altro? NO. Hai mai visto un’offerta identica? NO. Ecco cosa intendo per essere diverso. E l’esperienza che vivrai con me diventerà davvero unica.

Spero di essermi spiegato. In effetti, io non vendo blog. Vendo una cosa molto più importante e difficile da paragonare ad altro: vendo la realizzazione. La realizzazione di sé.

La diversità deve essere il tuo mantra. Quindi, smetti di vendere servizi online come fossero dei prodotti o peggio delle commodity, e inizia a creare processi che impattino sulla vita delle persone, e ti rendano la migliore “soluzione” che possano trovare.

Impacchettare e vendere servizi online: la tua offerta

Tu vendi servizi che hanno una sostanza, che risolvono un problema per un pubblico specifico. Ma questa sostanza può avere svariate forme, che possono essere percepite in modi anche molto diversi da persone diverse.

La forma, di questa sostanza, è la tua offerta. È attraverso l’offerta che vai a differenziarti, poiché è con la costruzione di un’offerta mirata che riuscirai a far percepire il massimo del valore al tuo potenziale cliente, senza permettergli di “confrontarla al volo” con qualcosa che già conosce.

• Come puoi vendere questa essenza dandogli una forma che non sia semplicemente la voce di un listino a X euro?

• Come puoi vendere un prodotto sotto forma di servizio, o viceversa, e creare attorno a questo un’offerta che includa tantissimo altro valore? (Per esempio, manutenzioni attive, velocità e prestazioni garantite, studio e risoluzione di alcune problematiche correlate, controlli periodici e magari riepilogo dei risultati raggiunti).

In altre parole, se vuoi vendere servizi online devi concentrarti sul valore aggiunto della tua offerta percepito dal cliente, e porti in modo diverso da qualsiasi altro competitor.

Originale, e inconfrontabile.

I nostri siti web e blog funzionano tutti in questo modo:

• Creano interesse attorno al problema che risolvi intercettando, tramite i contenuti, le persone che lo vivono.

• Fanno capire a queste persone le tue soluzioni, e offrono magari un primo livello di aiuto gratuito.

• Promuovono i tuoi servizi attraverso contenuti specifici che diventano, a tutti gli effetti, delle vere e proprie pagine di vendita.