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The customers have the power online. The customers can find the precise same product as you have online a click away. And somewhere out there the customer can find your product cheaper than you can sell it right?

So how can you put extra value to your website and to your products? The product and the digital value will make you a better product. A better product for the customers and there for also a better product for you. Maybe you know your own value chain, but do you know your customers value chain?


The value chain

You might have heard of the value chain of a company. Here is the short version.

Value Chain il











The primary value chain activities are the ones in the bottom – Inbound Logistics – Operations – Outbound Logistics – Marketing / Sales – Service. The goal of all these activities is to create a value that will exceed the cost of providing the product or service and this way generating a profit margin. The inbound logistic is the input materials – including the receiving, warehousing and inventory.

The operations are the activities that transform the inputs into the final products. The outbound logistics are the activities required to get the product to the customers – including warehousing and order fulfillment. Marketing and sale (I love this part because I work in marketing) are the activities involving  getting buyers to buy the product and advertising.

Service is the activities like customer support, repair services etc.

The supporting activities are the activities at the top in the image. Porter (yes its my friend Michael E. Porter again – did you read SEO the Porter Way? Porter talks about 4 supporting activities. First procurement – this is the activities involving in purchasing the raw material and other input for the value creating activities. Technology Development – this includes research and development and other technology development used to support the value chain activities.

The human resource management – is everything regarding recruiting development and compensation of employees. At last we have the firm infrastructure – this could be activities such as finance, legal, quality management etc. If you like to read more about the value chain – you should read Michael E. Porter: Competitive Advantage: Creating and Sustaining Superior Performance.

Okay this was the normal company chain. Let’s change our focus to the customers now.

Customer value chain

If you want to give the customer something extra – a digital value – you’ll have to know the customer value chain too. So here it is.

Customer Value Chain






It’s inspired from the buying decision model. First the customer has a need for something. Let’s say the buyer (let’s call him Joe) needs some transportation from his home to his work. He starts to search for solutions – he could take his bike, a bus or maybe buy a car. Well Joe likes to drive a car so he will do that. He goes to his car dealer – try different models, lets his wife pick the color (right?) and buy it.

Now he uses it for work every day. And the effect is that he now has transportation to his job.


The Value Matric Model

Now what will happen if we put the two models together? We get the awesome Value Matric Model













Webshop – Selling clothes

You have a webshop selling clothes. You don’t have any inbound logistics and you don’t have any operations – because you are not producing the clothes yourself. All you do having your website where you are selling your clothes. So you have marketing and sale, outbout logistics (you send the clothes to your customers and you have some customer support.

You webshop is very basic – all you do for the customer helping with the buying – right? So this will look like this

Value ChainWebshop












So the question is how will develop your webshop to give your customer more value. The customers have a need for clothes. Maybe its getting cold outside and need warm clothes, or its summertime and they need some light summer clothes. Can you help them in their search? Yes you can. Write about fashion, which colors are hot this year? How can you put different clothes together? Maybe the customer can type their measurement and then search for the clothes that fits them?

Or take a look at this 3D clothes shop. It will be an event to go to your shop and get the clothes. Do you have a blog or social network tell people about all your new clothes? Keep the conversation going. Maybe you have a corporation with a clothes cleaning shop. You see it’s only the imagination that stopping you – remember to think about the customer value chain.

So you might find that you will develop your webshop in the green spots.

Value ChainWebshop












Analyze your competitors web shop too using this model to get ideas – or to get ideas different than your competitors. I better stop now and get my coffee.


As always – take care and enjoy…





DigitalStrategyLong long time ago – well 5 or 10 years ago – companies tried to make a difference based on the products they made for their customers. The old fashion value chain model was great. It would give us the ability to find ways to cut the costs of producing a product.

But now you can go online and check the prices for a product within seconds. And if you have a physical shop or even a web shop I will bet that somewhere on the web there is a shop who will sell your product cheaper than you.

There are a lot of websites where you are checking prices and you can find the cheapest one in 5 seconds right? Maybe you are setting up the prices based on your costs. But what if a web shop is setting their prices based on the lifetime value of a customer. In this case they can push their sales prices back maybe 5 or 10 percent.

So you might find that you can go to your local store and get an item for 25 dollars and you can go online see buy the precise same product for 10 dollars. So why should you get 15 dollars more in the local shop. Well this is all old news – I know.

So how do you make a different? How do you show the customer that they will have to buy the product in your shop? What kind of value are you giving to your customers? Companies these days need to find new ways to make a different.


Connecting devices

The shift from producing and selling your products locally to the role of delivering the best value for the customer is driving – among other things – by the connecting devices.

The computer power of a Smartphone these days are bigger than the computer power used by NASA to put a man on the moon.

So as a company we will have to use these new devices to boost our business.

And it’s not just the mobile phones. It’s also tablet computers and notebooks. The devices are all making it easier for the customers to find products and services online. To compare the products. We don’t go online once a week to check out a shop or products, we are always online. We are getting hints from our friends. We check the reviews.

And this amazing new approach really opens up a brand new world for us marketing people right? We will have to create the right Digital Strategy – to show our customers that they have to put the product on our website. Even though we might not be the cheapest one, we could bring the highest value.

So instead of having your focus on the costs of producing a product, we should now have the focus on delivering the best value to the customers. We need to pay attention to people using multiple social networks, multiple devices, always online.

We need to develop a “Digital Customer Strategy”


4 step Digital Customer Strategy

So let me show you this 4 step guide for starting this digital customer strategy.


1) Mission and value of your company and brand

You need to be in compliance with your mission and value. You can’t have a luxury brand offline and a cheap product online right?

A digital online customer should have the same feel of the company online and offline. And the value should be showed in every marketing channel.

2) The Intended digital experience

Describe how you want to interact with your customers need. Don’t talk about IT or HTML.

In plain text write down, how you want to help the customer gathering information about the same kind of product as yours?

What kind of information should be provided to the customer before buying your product? What about after sale information?

How do you want to engage your customers? Remember your customers are online 24/7.


3) Activities and processes that support the intended digital experience

Now you will have to talk about IT and HTML. How can you deliver the intended digital experience and give your customers more value?

Do you your customer to get a white paper about the topic or product? Do you want the customer to be able to compare products? Do you want the customer to get links to product reviews? Do you have an email club? What about the social media?

How do you want to keep touch with your customer 24/7?


4) Digital channel investments

Now you know your mission and brand value, you know what kind of digital experience you want to give your customers to give them extra value right?

And you also know which activities and processes you need to support the digital experience. So now you have to invest in your activities and processes.

With your clear strategy in place, your company can now make the decisions about the website, so they will have the most impact on their businesses instead of just following a me-too strategy.


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Have a great day out there.