Winning the race - getting to market before the competition

Adrian O'Connor, CEO Print and Residential Distribution, Ovato

Speed is of the essence in 2019, as you come face to face with the impact of a connected world.

According to PwC, 78 per cent of Australian customers ranked "speed and efficiency" as equally critical to a positive customer experience. If they don’t get the service they expect, even if they love the company or product, over half of Australian consumers will stop shopping with a brand they love after a few bad experiences and 24 per cent will stop after just one bad experience.

If it’s important to them, it should be important to your business too. They’re feeling the need for speed and that means getting to market quickly is a huge priority.

What’s speed got to do with it?

Customers expect more than ever before - speed, convenience, personalisation - but how does it affect your business?

Well, if they don’t get their product, they’ll go somewhere that gives them what they want. There is plenty of competition out there, and any number of other businesses hungry for customers. You can’t afford to let anything through the cracks in this highly competitive environment.

Customers have many ways to get what they want, whenever they want it by engaging with brands across a raft of channels, from social media to printed catalogues, streaming platforms and online search. Whoever gets to market first, has the best opportunity to secure the sale and establish a relationship with a new customer. This is why speed to market is important.

You must be there first, with your product or offering at the ready. You’ve got to be agile and flexible to take advantage of trends, technology breakthroughs and other opportunities. Being first gives you a big voice, made all the bigger by being the only one in the room.

Getting faster than your competition

We’ve looked at what speed to market is and why it’s important to your business. Now it’s time to look at some ways that you can improve your speed and pip the competition at the post.

If you’re in the print game, online demand for books is as high as it’s ever been and online retailers like Booktopia and Amazon are popular with readers thanks to fast delivery options. Publishers are increasingly printing smaller, more frequent runs of books using print-on-demand technology that cuts turnaround dramatically, instead of traditional large, one-off runs that fill a warehouse and inevitably hit the bargain bin.

Co-habitation

Locating your print and distribution facilities in one site is another way to cut the time it takes to get your stock to market. Instead of having to move all your freshly printed stock from the printing facility to the distribution centre where it is packed up and sent out, you’re doing everything in the one place.

You’ll save yourself a chunk of time, reduce your logistics costs and even cut down on Co2 emissions when you don’t have to ‘double handle’ stock before it’s on its way to sale.

Streamline your agency workflow

Using an end-to-end workflow platform for your marketing can drastically shorten the marketing supply chain.

Managing your advertising and marketing content – briefs and layouts, images, offers, copy, concepts, design, proofs, revisions, annotations and distribution for print and online - from a centralised platform allows you to boost your speed to market. How? By uncomplicating everything, increasing your efficiency and supercharging responsiveness.

The final sprint

The final element that will get you to market quicker and help you win the race to the front of your customer’s mind is getting on top of customer service.

Speed and convenience are big drivers in where customers choose to shop. Same-day and next-day delivery is now an expectation, and Australian retailers such as The Iconic, David Jones, Myer and Dan Murphy’s are all trialling their own versions of next day delivery in Sydney.

To really nail your customer service, it’s important to keep the customer informed during their shopping journey and that’s best done by having a great e-commerce website or digital catalogue. An online store that tells a customer if their item is in stock, clearly communicates shipping costs and options and makes it easy to redeem an offer will provide a more enjoyable customer experience. When an order is placed, the fulfillment team needs to pick, pack and ship it quickly and accurately.

You can do it

Speed to market is essential in a digital age, where fads and other types of ‘viral’ media can drive sales unexpectedly. Agility and flexibility are required to get your product out into the world.

Get your customers what they want, when they want it, and you’re well on the way to winning the race to market.