Enter the e-commerce space and avoid threats of direct competition with its existing distribution network. Alignment of management, technical support, customer service, employees, and customers required a solution that addressed all constituent concerns, internal and external, especially the concerns of distributors who feared direct competition from Panasonic. Employees who had been working with the company for most of their professional lives felt threatened by the online channel fearing diminished compensation.
Considering Panasonic’s position, a strategy was crafted that provided an entry point into the e-commerce space without directly disturbing its distribution channels. The strategy positioned Panasonic as the online destination for learning all about electronic products; and with a newly minted value proposition, “Ideas for Life”, rich content at different levels, technical and lifestyle, was developed to support this value proposition. Instead of being a direct competitor to its distributors, Panasonic’s positioning was intended to be one of support and education.
The e-commerce experience was developed to be a partner to the user. Aside from showcasing their products and following best e-commerce practices, the site provided easy access to local distributors where the user could purchase the same item if they preferred to. A competitive pricing strategy that would not alter the relationship with the distributor was approved, and rich content per category and product was developed. User research revealed that easy access to technical support was the main reason customers visit an electronics site so part of the content strategy included a robust technical support area with direct access to chat and/or customer service. A comprehensive training program for customer service reps was established to immediately respond to clients’ online purchase needs. As part of a 360-customer experience strategy and, in conjunction with the advertising agency, visual design included custom photography and videos shot exclusively for the site and later extended to promotional campaigns, commercials, points of purchase and other marketing efforts.