In the Ecom Experts, we focus on e-commerce thought leadership and insight by conducting short interviews with industry leaders and influencers who, through their unique experience and category leadership, have gained special perspectives on the growth and direction of online shopping. Meet Ajit Sivadasan, GM Global eCommerce at Lenovo
What two or three things that Lenovo is focusing on for its success in digital commerce?
The big one we are focused on is building customer-centric communities that allow us to have a direct conversation with end users. The latest example of this is the GAMESTATE initiative focused on gamers and gaming enthusiasts. The entire focus on these initiatives is to build a compelling, long-term emotional engagement with customers who like our products, services or ideas. We have seen some incredible success doing this with Gamestate, which incidentally is in the middle of building a crowdsourced AAA rated game working with DarkRift.
The second is using data and advanced analytics to drive insights about our business and using that to drive optimization of results. We are singularly focused on data driven UI/UX improvements leveraging behavior models, micro-segmentation and similar concepts. The premise here is to really focus on honing customer value propositions online.
What has been the biggest change in online shopper behavior over the last 18 months?
Customer sophistication is increasing every day driven by an ecosystem that is evolving rapidly. From Google to Amazon to many regional players globally the focus has shifted onto the customers like never before. Everyone is driving initiatives to make it easier and intuitive for customers to have a seamless experience. One definite shift is the move and subsequent increased adoption of mobile to do more commerce on phones and tablets.
What data is most important for Lenovo and what does that data do for Lenovo?
Transactional data helps us understand trends (i.e. what are our customers buying, how much are they buying and how are they buying.) These are all important to running our business and planning for future cycles of product iteration and sales. However, what is more interesting and probably more likely to be a competitive differentiator is behavioral data that allows us to build predictive models of what customers might likely do and therefore anticipate their needs better. A lot of work needs to be done to make this impactful, but the technology and capability is now more mature than ever to realize the potential of such data.
What are the biggest hurdles to overcome to become a data driven company in the consumer electronics sector?
There are more than a few challenges for brands as they try to become more data savvy--regardless of industry. First, the sheer amount of data that is available and whether brands have the discipline to manage priorities carefully will determine their eventual success. A good company will have a clear view on what is important and how to manage the requirements properly.
Second, there’s a need for specialized skills. The need for qualified personnel and their scarcity will be a significant challenge going forward.
If you could wave a magic wand and change one thing about the ecommerce landscape, what would it be?
Interoperability of systems, devices and transaction processing is still clunky and faces challenges from security and privacy concerns. These are headwinds that limit the potential for smooth operation of ecommerce activities globally. Also several parts of the world still lack sophistication around payment methods which limits our ability to give customers what they desire in terms of seamless transactions.
Ajit Sivadasan focuses on creating a total customer experience that spans diverse e-commerce platforms and devices, as well as business-to-business and business-to-customer operations. Mr. Sivadasan's achievements with Lenovo over the past six years include driving significant increase in the firm's internet business from consumer and small to medium-sized businesses, driving penetration of the business into newer global markets. He has also contributed to significant increases in global profits through improved end-user experiences.