In 2012, revolution in the trade and logistics industry was driven not by the efficiency of the supply chain but by consumer needs – understanding customers as individuals and making shopping easier through diverse service channels.
The trade and logistics industry consists of a chain of functions through which products and services are refined so that they ultimately add value to the customer’s life. Retail is the most essential link in the long value chain, as it is the meeting point between industrial production and the local outlet’s customer information flow.
Competitive advantages have been achieved in retail until recent years by creating efficient procurement and order-supply processes. As a result, the delivery chain is nowadays very efficient. As the popular international online shopping and factory outlet concepts have become established in Finland, the focus of development has shifted to ensure customer loyalty and the ease of recommendations. Commercial operators are expecting that in the coming years consumers will increase the frequency of their visits and make more extensive use of multichannel services.
Finns are happy with the state of Finnish retail, and their satisfaction has only increased during the past year. However, nearly 60 per cent of consumers will primarily take the advice of another consumer – not the retailer or product manufacturer – when making purchase decisions. In other words, customer relationship management will increasingly shift from the retail value chain to the customer, i.e. the consumer.
Additionally, the change in the spending behaviour of Finnish consumers is affected by the growing income gaps between social classes, the ageing of the population, better education levels and the new style of interaction permitted by multichannel services – that is, time- and place-independent consumer behaviour.
Digia has been a part of daily trade and logistics operations through some of its key customers since 1994. Over the years, the focus of technological development has changed from operational management systems to building customer experiences in diverse service channels.
The change has created customer needs for integration services, business data management and digital service development, which affect the everyday operations of both retailers and consumers. In 2012, Digia’s key success factors were the customer-oriented approach, in-depth understanding of the sector, conceptualisation of product offerings and inventive solutions, which were provided in more than 400 customer projects both in Finland and in Russia.