Upcoming Trends in the Aftermarket Services Business

In recent years, the aftermarket services industry has seen enormous growth. As far back as 2006, after-sales services and the sale of spare parts in industries like information technology, automobiles, and industrial machinery were already estimated at roughly $1 trillion, or 8 percent of the annual gross domestic product of the United States. That figure has increased dramatically as companies across these industries have refined their strategies and business practices in order to tap into the full potential of this sector.

Having recently acquired the Aftermarket Services unit of global electronics maker Jabil, the customer service outsourcing firm iQor Holdings Inc. is poised to enter this rewarding new territory. In doing so, iQor will also be taking on some exciting challenges that have been identified by the business platform association Aftermarket as trends to watch in the near future. These include:

Knowledge. Identifying, analyzing, and sharing the experiences and insights of customer service personnel and other field operatives is a key step in helping product developers and R&D teams optimize design. How best to capture and transmit this knowledge is a hot question in today’s aftermarket business.

Data. Management of data in an environment of constant technological advances is at once a significant challenge and a major growth opportunity. Businesses must strike a balance between no lost data and no efforts wasted on data that is ultimately not useful.

Service Dominant Logic. Service is rapidly taking the place of goods as the cornerstone of economic exchange. Companies must therefore evolve and grow their business mentality in order to make the transition from a product-focused operation to a customer-centric one.

Study Groups Digital Grocery Shoppers into Five Distinct Categories

A portfolio company of middle market private equity firm HGGC, LLC, MyWebGrocer (MWG) has been providing sophisticated digital solutions to the online grocery industry for nearly 15 years.

A central element of MWG’s platform has always involved helping its retailers and brands better understand their customers. In pursuit of this goal, MWG recently conducted a comprehensive segmentation study, called Exploring the World of Digital Grocery Shoppers, to identify and explore the opinions, motivations, and preferences of individuals who plan and shop for groceries online. Out of a consumer panel of 30,000 digitally active shoppers, the research revealed five distinct types.

The reluctant shopper reviews weekly specials online a few days before shopping, but otherwise does very little planning.

The traditional grocery enthusiast makes use of online resources primarily for research, especially regarding weekly specials, but is more comfortable with the in-store shopping experience.

New digital shoppers are typically young, ethnically diverse individuals with busy schedules, who plan and look for specials online and streamline the shopping process by using mobile and e-commerce technologies.
The passionate planner enjoys and makes extensive use of online resources in searching for recipes, planning meals, building shopping lists, and reading product reviews.

The affluent online shopper belongs to a high-income, high-activity group with very little time for meal planning or shopping, and therefore appreciates the ease and convenience of online groceries.

Identifying these five groups is the first step for retailers and brands seeking to improve digital engagement. Retailers can then begin to build better customer relationships through more specifically targeted marketing efforts.