Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Why are Time, Place and Occasion the 3 New Pillars for Total Product Offering in Online to Offline Commerce?

It’s all about context (museums provide perspectives to context to the past as well as the future and so I used the image of the museum for this post) today when consumers are inundated with a myriad of products and services, when merchants struggle to match their product offerings to the tastes and preferences of consumers.

With mobile technologies, our daily lifestyles are both helped by and yet at times crippled by the lack of recommendations for products which are relevant at certain times of the day or week, around certain places we are located or preparing for certain special occasions like birthdays or end of year get-together with family and friends. Search on PC and Mobile helps with the first layer guide and then we, as consumers have to sieve through the second layer of pages of content from wikis, blog sites or lifestyle guides. Alternatively, we could draw inspirations from either mobile food and lifestyle apps or from our circle of friends from our Facebook or Instagram communities. Practically though, when it comes down to the decision point, you may end up asking your spouse or close friends (WOM, word-of-mouth) due to the urgency of the moment or lack of relevancy in the content you read to your context, tastes and preferences.

To get to the context for today’s mobile lifestyle consumers, merchants have to match the time, place and occasion parameters of the consumers with product offerings relevant to consumers’ tastes and preferences. And this will be an iterative testing, gathering and learning process.

With regards to time, merchants could think about the time of the day (breakfast, lunch, tea-time, dinner, supper?) or time in the week (weekdays, weekends?) or time in the year (school time, family holiday time?) and customize their product offerings in their communications to the right target segments.

With regards to place, merchants could think about the differences between customizing and offering their products in the central business districts, offices, industrial parks vis-à-vis the suburban residential neighbourhoods.

With regards to occasion, merchants could think about the nuances in product offerings to different cultures, festivals, or special moments for families and friends.

Again these are nothing new. Many merchants are trying to reach out to consumers from their brick and mortar stores or online presence and both traditional and digital marketing. However to capture today’s time-starved consumers’ mindshare, a merchant’s total product experience will need to go from today’s noisy practices of mass-communicating their product offerings and drive to more effective and targeted capture of consumers’ mindshare, by appealing to their lifestyle daily habits through testing constantly and providing hybrid curation of content and recommendations which strikes a chord with the consumers’ context in time, place, occasion.

What are your perspectives in the use of time, place and occasion to target today's and tomorrow's consumers?

Talk more in 2015. Happy new year!

Nelson Wee sending greetings from Singapore

Photo credit: wallyg / iWoman / CC BY-NC-ND

Photo credit: h.koppdelaney / Foter / CC BY-ND

Photo credit: James Jardine / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

Photo credit: Graceful Cake Creations / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

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