Helen Ross 22 November 2017 2 min read

The machines are coming

We’ve been seeing the influx of machine intelligence for years. From things as simple as predictive text to game changers like Artificial Intelligence, the next machine age has been steadily marching across our screens for the past decade and the pace is only accelerating. But what does that mean for you? Honestly, I think nothing but good things - IF you’re willing to adapt.


Having an eCommerce presence is no longer a game changer… it’s a baseline. Even if we ignore the Amazon-shaped gorilla waiting to climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge, there are so many different marketplaces out there. And within those marketplaces are your competitors and their digital presence. Not to mention the digital presence of the other competitors you didn’t know about because they’re beyond our shores.


So if we work under the assumption that just having an eCommerce presence isn’t a differentiator, what can you use to set yourself apart? It’s probably not a surprise if I say personalisation is part of the puzzle. But what else is there that I haven’t already told you about? Machines.


Don’t underestimate the value proposition inherent in offering solutions like PunchOut or TPN to your customers. Or time-saving options like order import. As much as you’re trying to drive down your cost to serve, so are they! While these may be features you know and use every day, if you haven’t explicitly told your customer about them… how likely are they to know?


I’ve mentioned before that we’ve had customers win contracts based primarily on the fact that they can offer solutions like PunchOut. Now I’m not claiming PunchOut specifically as a silver bullet; it’s the theory behind it that I’m focused on. It’s the mentality of offering your customer a way to transact with you that causes them the least friction (while at the same time not increasing your own overheads).


Customers are getting on-board the automation train at lightning speed (shout out to our own Lucy as an example). For most, it’s not a huge leap to look at functions beyond standard eCommerce shopping. Why not offer your customers Order Approvals so they can get their part-time admin staff doing the weekly replenishment order without worrying about unnecessary spend, rather than the office manager? Or maybe you could offer to set up a secondary “Order Only” role that doesn’t have access to Account screens, meaning they don’t have to worry about the wrong staff seeing balances?


The intelligence behind eCommerce is growing, almost as fast as customer expectations for the same. Are you going to be left behind, or will you embrace the next machine age?


If you’re not sure what options you have for your customers, you can always chat to me and we can work out what’s going to best service your particular users’ needs.

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