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Embracing disruptive innovation to reduce customer friction

Nayela Deeba | April 13, 2017
Clarence Chew, Chief Marketing Officer, Decathlon, advises organisations on ways to survive digital disruption, at the CIO Conference Singapore 2017.

Clarence Chew, CMO, Decathlon

Sporting goods retailer, Decathlon, has altered its business model to remain "competitive" and stay "relevant" in the industry. "We are hoping that technology will reduce the friction between customers and [their] decision making process," said Clarence Chew, Chief Marketing Office, Decathlon.

Chew was speaking at the CIO Conference Singapore on 6 April 2017 on the impact of digital disruption to business models and customer experiences.

 "I was hired to transform the business model, modernise retail techniques and create new experience for customers," said Chew. He explained it was necessary to bring in new technologies, such as 3D printing, to enhance customer experience. The 3D technology will help customers select their sporting outfits or test out sports gears before they make a purchase.

According to Decathlon's website, the company has generated €10 billion (excluding tax) in annual revenues from all its stores worldwide.

Chew advised companies to continue investing new technologies as it would help them in three ways. Firstly, it will help organisations "transform" in this day and age of disruption, provide customers with a "holistic" experience, and "modernise" the overall business strategy.   Companies like Uber and Airbnb have been successful doing so.

He also encouraged companies to continue testing several business models, engage in research , work with startups, and  focus on creating experiences instead of products.  The experiences should benefit customers across all touchpoints, and this can be done through data analytics and better marketing strategies. 

Lastly, he urged organisations to accept failures."Our business model took four years to generate good results.  One takeaway from this would be that organisations should create an environment for disruption to happen until they find a business model which works," concluded Chew.

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