Customers’ values and behaviors have changed during the pandemic. They are both thinking and buying differently than before. And they are seeing products, solutions, and services through a news lens – a lens that is continuing to evolve and likely to have a lasting effect on long-term behavioral trends.
As part of a Q&A series, Samsung employees across business areas share their views on what customers’ new expectations, needs and priorities are; how they plan to meet their evolved demands; and which habits are here to stay.
1. Has your customer’s expectations, behaviors, and priorities evolved in this new environment? If so, how?
In working with U.S. mobile carriers, the feedback I continually receive is “no OEM partners with us like Samsung!” In this new environment, we’ve continued to meet expectations by providing premiere carrier support that goes above and beyond. We’ve done this by being agile and devising strategies for the new retail frontier – from distribution access to digital experience. We’ve also enabled virtual OEM training and sales support due to store closures. And, we’ve switched our focus from sales to service.
2. How are you responding to meet the changing needs of your customer?
In retail as in business, we strive to show up where and when it matters most for our customers. Our mission is to further transform our carrier relationships from transactional to relational based on their specific needs. As such, we have had to reinvent our retail support.
Because of traffic impacts and changes, we created a COVID-Recovery Webinar series targeting more than 2,000 Verizon indirect agents, underscoring the products, solutions, and resources available to help them capture and convert sales coming in by phone or online. (NOTE: You will continue to see our virtual event presence, including Virtual Experience (V/X) Back to Business sessions, a virtual Unpacked event, device sneak peeks, etc.) These webinars were strengthened by the added connections made by our Field Sales Organization for future joint business planning, sales support/deployment, and funnel-building.
As buying trends and the strength of the economy continued to fluctuate, we activated sales incentives to capture mindshare and reward going the extra mile. Finally, as a limited number of locations opened for critical activities, we provided solutions for their touchless retail environment, digital solutions for training, in-store demo experiences via QR Codes, and additional prioritization via carrier and agent online platforms.
3. How are you keeping your customers and colleagues safe while playing a reimagined role in customers’ lives?
We have fast-tracked digital-first customer experiences and prioritized customer and employee safety measures to instill confidence. And with solutions like Samsung Pay, Samsung with MSFT Link to Windows, Samsung with Wireless DeX Solution, Samsung Paperless Business Solutions, Samsung Social Distancing Solutions and Samsung.com Virtual Sales / Support, Samsung is best positioned to meet the various needs of our carrier partners and end-user customers in this ever-evolving sales environment.
4. Which new habits and behaviors do you anticipate will continue in the long run?
I believe the following changes will continue to play out into the future:
- The continued acceleration of e-commerce: While the shift to digital has been growing over the years, we’re seeing increased e-commerce adoption and expect the demand to continue.
- The contactless payments push: To reduce repetitious touch of cards/cash and point-of-sale terminals, mobile wallets/digital payments are on the rise and will see added use/integration.
- The reevaluation of re-commerce: Under increased economic strains, one would have expected that the renting, reselling, and thrifting of pre-owned goods to increase, but infection concerns may outweigh cost savings and environmental benefits for the time being.
- The reimagined store pickup: As online browsing becomes the new “window shopping,” last-mile logistics, including curbside pickup, drive-thru, and contactless/locker delivery, are now table stakes for retailers.
- The visualization of e-commerce: Transformational advances in 3D, virtual and augmented reality for visualizing and demoing products, as well as receiving virtual sales and service support, will become a key competitive differentiator.
We have fast-tracked digital-first customer experiences and prioritized customer and employee safety measures to instill confidence.
5. Will their new and potentially everlasting behaviors transform the industry’s future?
I remember the significant transitions from 1x days, then from 3G to 4G, and now from 4G to 5G network capabilities, which is radically changing how we live and how businesses operate. The amount and speed of data needed to support virtual living and working experiences that our customers need has only just begun. From accessibility and functionality to productivity, global 5G deployment has been the cornerstone of those remote experiences.
At Samsung, we defy barriers to progress. On July 14th, the company unveiled a whitepaper outlining its vision for 6G – including immersive mobile hologram and digital replica. “Samsung’s vision for 6G is to bring the next hyper-connected experience to every corner of life.”
It’s amazing to be part of a generation and a company that has seen and spurred so much innovation. Typewriters to computers to laptops to tablets. Landlines to mobile devices to smartphones. Dial-up internet access to digital. I hope our customers are excited, because we certainly are – not just looking back at how far we have come in the digital transformation of business, but how far we have yet to go!