Dutch companies improving their digital commercial maturity

10 December 2019 Consultancy.eu

Large Dutch companies have improved their digital commercial maturity over the past year, according to new research from BearingPoint. A growing number of companies however are facing the threat of falling behind. 

To evaluate the digital maturity of commercial operations, the researchers took four factors into account: digital marketing, digital product experience, e-commerce, and e-CRM. Digital marketing determines the ability of companies to reach potential customers through marketing and social media and the effectiveness in leading them to their websites. 

Digital product experience evaluates the functionality, design and content of the company’s websites and apps. Meanwhile, e-commerce assesses the ability of companies to sell via digital channels, and e-CRM measures the extent to which companies succeed in maintaining and expanding their customer relationships.

A group of 60 leading companies – Dutch-origin organisations with a turnover of over €50 million – were assessed against these criteria, finding that overall performance has increased by 16% compared to the previous benchmark from two years ago.Dutch companies improving their digital commercial maturityThis development is according to BearingPoint partner and lead author Jaco van Zijll Langhout a welcome one, and a shift that caters to the needs of today’s increasingly demanding consumers. Accustomed to the 24/7 service-driven economy, consumers nowadays expect companies to tap into their demands quickly, personally, at their own convenience and with ease – with those outshined by their peers facing a mounting challenge to remain relevant.

Across the board, Dutch companies are performing best in the digital product experience, with an average of 3.4 on a scale of 5, followed by the e-commerce dimension, which scores 2.9. While e-CRM ranks just sufficient (2.3), the score on digital marketing (1.9) is flat-out poor. 

“It is clear that there remains much room for improvement,” says Van Zijll Langhout, adding that laggards can learn much from the front-runners in the landscape. In the Netherlands, retailers Hema, Bol.com, Hunkemöller, Coolblue and G-Star have been identified as the top five leaders in digitising their sales & marketing operations.

According to the report, they manage to stand out in a number of areas. First, they consider digital customer interaction as a strategic priority, enabling them to successfully navigate the changing consumer arena and stay ahead of competitors.Performance by industrySecond, they make better use of opportunities. Leaders are more likely to use Instagram as an advertising tool, use chatbots in their sales support service, and to optimise their search engine and affiliate marketing channels. Not only do they focus on getting clients on board, they place the same dedication to excel on consumer touch-points across the entire value chain, all the way through to after-sales and customer service. 

Furthermore, leaders are more adept in executing changes for the better. “They understand how to keep things small to increase speed and they strip out dependencies, ultimately creating more impact,” said Van Zijll Langhout.

Moving into action-mode

In a trend that is also seen elsewhere (BearingPoint conducts the same study in several other European countries), the gap between top-performers and laggards is on the rise. Given that digital has become an imperative in modern business, the researchers highlight that laggards need to get in on the action, but equally, leaders should not rest on their laurels.

“Digital has become the ‘new normal’, the challenge is to become a truly customer-centric and data-driven organisations. Alongside digital excellence, this builds a company culture that embraces experimentation, customer centricity and radical innovation.”