Back in 2005 Lenovo acquired IBM’s PC division (along with its ThinkPad laptop) for $1.25 billion. The purchase made the Chinese tech company the third-largest PC maker in the world.
But back then there was little thought that went into online optimization. “We had no footprint really when it came to ecommerce,” said Ajit Sivadasan, VP of Global eCommerce for Lenovo. Ajit joined the company a year after the IMB acquisition. “I actually came here to build the online business.”
At the moment in time, Lenovo only sold its PCs in half a dozen countries. The company “was not very ecommerce centric or friendly,” added Ajit. “It was quite frankly, a big exercise in change management… How do we have a view of the customer that’s almost 360 degrees? How can we influence decisions, or take actions that serve our customers in near real-time, whether it’s marketing, driving demand, or it’s closing a sale?”
These were the questions that Lenovo had to ask itself. They first focused on launching online operations within the world’s leading 10 markets. Within 10 years, Lenovo transformed from a regional PC maker into a global leader. Today it has 50,000 employees and operates in 180 markets. And brings in $50 billion yearly.
They’ve come a long way yet are still focused on doubling down on digital. It’s goal is to double its ecommerce within 3 years. And to do that it is aiming to center the customer in everything it does. To personalize digital journeys. In order to do that, Lenovo required a fresh tech stack.
Lenovo turned to Adobe to provide a modern digital injection. “A series of Adobe Days, workshops, and IT architectural sessions aligned Lenovo behind Adobe Experience Manager,” said Jason van Namen, global account director at Adobe. “Lenovo realized it could strengthen B2B engagement and improve campaigns by replacing existing solutions worldwide.”
And it’s not only Adobe Experience Manager (AEM) that Lenovo leverages from Adobe. They’re all in on Adobe. They use the entire suite of Experience Cloud products, such as Adobe Advertising Cloud and Audience Manager. The decision to put all their chips on Adobe was actually quite an easy one to make, which according to Ajit, Adobe has “the most complete end-to-end solution to manage this journey online.
“Over the last five or six years we have consciously moved to a much more Adobe-centric system,” added Sivadasan. “It’s simply because the data that we get about our customers is fundamentally coming from the Adobe technology. Target is integral to what we want to do in terms of experimentation. And Audience Manager is trying to understand our audiences better, and understand the customer journey better. How do we really get the value proposition for a group of people… target them the right way, and show them the right experience?”
Understanding the need to segment their customers in order to offer more personal offers and online journeys, they divided their customer journeys in two:
- One for computer game players who are aged between 25 and 35.
- And a second for IT professionals at small- to mid-sized businesses.
“We figured out that these segments would be a great way for us to test our ability to go to market,” added Ajit, because gamers don’t typically behave in the same way as the rest of Lenovo customers behave.
“Four years ago, we invited gamers to come and give input into building a commercially-developed game,” said Ajit. “That told us a lot of things that we did not know. A big part of it was that gamers really, really want to be involved in the process. It’s not sufficient for them to buy technology. They want to have a say. And the more they engage, the more loyal they are to the brand. We have changed the business model to be much, much more inclusive, immersive, and collaborative.
“The Adobe Experience Manager product allows us to piece together all of these things in a very seamless way,” added Ajit, “and most importantly connect them to our analytics product, so we are able to figure out the impact in almost real time.
“When we started working with Adobe it was much more about data analytics and insights. Now it’s a lot more immersive, and it’s a lot more of us pulling what we need from Adobe, to shape the experiences we think are pivotal for our customer experience. So, it’s gone from being a somewhat passive engagement to a much more active engagement.”
Digital transformation today is no simple project, at whatever scale. And so to carry it out across a chorus of languages, and dozens of countries and regions, the task is monumental to create, manage, execute, and continually update. But with the suite of Adobe Experience Cloud, managing ecommerce for a multinational becomes more manageable, easier to navigate, and faster to market.