Mobile ordering or table ordering is a phenomenon that is becoming more and more popular worldwide. In Germany, customers in a Münster beer garden can order from the digital menu of one of twelve partner restaurants using their smartphone and have their meal delivered to the beer garden. This local delivery platform called “Biergarten.ms” is an innovative concept launched by the city in order to comply with the required Covid-19 restrictions. The success of the initiative speaks for itself: this platform solution has become an additional income stream for the participating restaurants, generating up to 25% of sales in some cases.
For years, platform models such as this one have been increasing in importance. Companies such as Amazon and Tencent were the pioneers, but the principle is also being applied more and more in other industries and economic sectors. The advantage is obvious: platforms connect the supply and demand side, increasing added value for both parties. However, this also has advantages for the platform operator: they themselves do not have to provide the services on offer, but they benefit from the potential of high scalability, while the investments incurred are relatively low.
Today, seven out of the world’s top ten companies in terms of market value are based on the platform business model – including Amazon, Facebook and Alibaba. What makes them so valuable is their access to the end users, but this is not the reason for their success: consistent customer experience and integrated personalization are decisive factors, determining how long customers remain active on the platform and whether they will use it again. It is therefore crucial to optimize customer interfaces on a permanent basis.
The frequently cited “Amazonization of consumption” promises end users a special user experience and creates new aspirations and demands on other companies. As a result, customers are now used to making direct comparisons between products and providers and to appreciating the experiences of other buyers and other alternatives. One thing is clear: it is now almost impossible for any company to escape “Amazonization”. A customer-centric approach is becoming a critical factor in the success of all companies in almost all sectors, as future product launches must be adapted to each customer’s needs. As a result, all marketing departments must modernize and realign themselves.
This new configuration has become more and more inevitable for companies in recent years, and ultimately has also had an impact on the agency world. For example, as part of its realignment process the Plan.Net Group is focusing, among other things, on providing customized service solutions so that it can give its clients the best possible support in line with the latest requirements. In the course of this, the Group is concentrating its competences in four areas: Data & Consulting; Experience; Technology; and Activation. In the case of one client, BMW, the Group went a step further, setting up THE MARCOM ENGINE, a marketing-as-a-service platform that delivers marketing services specifically tailored to BMW – internationally and across all target markets. These services help the company to act more effectively and rapidly in order to focus on the end-user relationship over the course of an individual customer journey. This is done, for example, by delivering highly personalized content at respective touchpoints to target the right incentive at that point.
The upheavals that are spreading from “Amazonized” consumers to companies and their service providers are anything but trivial. In order to be able to act as interaction managers between companies and end users, service providers too must use lean processes, compact coordination loops and a high degree of transparency between the individual teams to structure their competences to such a level of efficiency that the company’s requirements for customer contact are fully met at a consistently high speed. The task is therefore to make internally available expert knowledge centrally accessible to lots of small units, creating cross-functional team structures and converting rigid structures into agile processes.
This new constellation will enable individually tailored services such as integrated support to be defined for customers throughout the customer journey. Thus we can position ourselves as a solutions provider – just like a platform-builder.
Ingo Faecks, CEO Plan.Net Group