March 2015

Digital Transformation Program with David R. Bell, Professor at The Wharton School

David R. Bell joins the Crossknowledge Faculty and talks about how to embrace the digital revolution with practical tips that you can apply directly and immediately to your own business.

Digitalization has become an everyday reality in numerous fields and will gain even more importance in the years to come. It has transformed customer relations and revolutionized the ways companies communicate. Because of fierce competition, digitalization has become a crucial strategic issue for every organization: only those players who are quickest and most informed can win. David Bell shares inspiring, real-life company stories to help you embrace the digital revolution.

David R. Bell is a consumer shopping behaviour expert, a world renowned researcher, consultant and investor and is the Xinmei Zhang and Yongge Dai Professor at the Wharton School. He recently published the book Location Is (Still) Everything that has been identified as a “must read for anyone who runs an Internet business.

Watch the vidocasts’ program of David Bell:

Going Digital: a digital training program by CrossKnowledge and David R. Bell.

Each ressource is avaliable in 7 languages: English, French, Spanish, German, Dutch, Portuguese and Italian.

Does location still matter in the virtual world?

Location is still absolutely critical for businesses that are e-commerce businesses. This time, however, it’s no longer the location of the store (which exists in the cloud): it’s the location of the customer in relation to offline options available. In this videocast, David takes the example of, an online fashion retailer, to explain why knowing the the characteristics of your clients’ physical and virtual environment can help your business.

Collaborative consumption

Collaborative consumption is a new business model made possible by digital technology. It builds a bridge between an available capability and the actual utilization of that capacity. David Bell explores this concept through Airbnb’s success story.

The power of socially observable products

Through the story of, David sets out a principle he has developed that he calls “adjacency” which is the way e-commerce companies spread predictably throughout a country over time. He demonstrates why in e-commerce, it’s key to seed locations with high demand and then to expand these locations through a process of contagion. Contagion can be attained thanks to products that people in your environment will notice and will want to acquire through social emulation.

Offline and online competition: the long tail concept

There is usually much more competition when it comes to popular products sold online. On the contrary, competition is much weaker for niche products. These niche products can therefore be much more profitable once you add them all up. In this videocast, David details this principle of the long tail and how you should balance your portfolio of products.

Isolation offline means liberation online

Some people are isolated in their environment because of their personal preferences and choices. “Preference isolation” means that you aren’t always free to purchase the products you want if those around you aren’t consuming the same thing. David encourages you to target these very people online as they potentially represent a very interesting source of revenue.

Resistance in the real world and the virtual world

The real world and the virtual world both have their own forms of “resistance.” Access to information and physical distance can be obstacles in the real world when you don’t have the possibility to actually come into contact with the products you are interested in. Through the example of Crate and Barrel, the American home decor retailer, David explains how companies can overcome this obstacle through new online/offline distribution systems like BOPS (Buy Online Pick up in Stores) or ROPO (Reseach Online, Purchase Offline).

The omni-channel customer

Today’s customers are omnichannel, meaning that they constantly switch between online and offline channels during their decision process and buying journey. David underlines why is it important to understand the customer’s journey and adapt the information and fulfillment your company can provide.

Using the internet to disrupt the value chain

Value chain disruption is a lever for online business development. The Internet can allow you to lower margins and disrupt even the most well-established markets. David Bell tells the story of Warby Parker, an eyewear company who managed to enter the market which was dominated by a monopoly in the US.

Using the internet to democratize access

Democratization of access is a fascinating business model that’s emerging in the age of digital marketing and e-commerce. It’s based on two pillars: 1/ removing the constraint of time and space on the enjoyment of a product or service and 2/ reaching massive scale with zero marginal cost to add additional users.

Using the internet to match supply and demand

Internet enables more efficient matching of supply and demand. Some companies like Uber are leveraging the new possibilities offered by technology to disrupt markets and to do business.

How to develop your digital reputation

“Earned media” refers to publicity created through opinion leaders, conversations and word of mouth. It is therefore very useful to leverage this type of media to improve your reputation. David explains how to make the most of this earned media in association with traditional media.

Branding in the digital age

You can’t manage your brand in the same way as it was managed before the digital age. You need to be aware that your clients will continue the story you have created for your brand, which is beyond your control. In addition, with the progress of technology, information spreads at lightning speed and it’s essential to be transparent with your client if you want to gain their trust.

The keys to digital marketing success

Analyzing the lessons of Webvan, a famous US digital failure, David gives 3 precious pieces of advice on how to succeed in a new digital venture. Firstly you need to show that your offer answers a problem people are facing. Secondly you need to create sufficient density of customers from which you can draw profits. And thirdly, you need to show that digital technology is able to amplify what is done in the real world.