It’s February—the time for celebrating love, finding a partner and realizing you can achieve more together than apart. No, this isn’t an ad for Tinder. It’s advice for businesses to find a partner–a business partner, not just a supplier or distributor, but another company or brand that brings unique assets and resources to the relationship. Digital technology facilitates partnerships by accelerating the flow of data and content between partners and between companies and customers, thereby creating greater value.
Partnerships can take many different forms, but here are two examples of brands that are forming digital love connections through partnerships designed to help each business innovate, expand or executive great ideas. Each partnership is unique, but delivers value to both parties—an essential ingredient for any love connection.
Partner to improve customer engagement.
For example, Walgreens, retailer and pharmacy. They recently expanded to offer clinics in many of their locations, which made sense. Why shouldn’t you be able to get a flu shot while you wait for a prescription? WebMD offers trustworthy medical content, which is valuable if you’re a pharmacy. Walgreen’s pharmacists might be able to produce similar content, but is that the best use of their time? No. Instead, Walgreens partnered with WebMD to launch a digital wellness program where WebMD provides rich content to support customer engagement. WebMD an influx of people visiting their website, downloading and using their mobile application.
Partner to improve the digital commerce experience.
For instance, well known online brands like Warby Parker and Bonobos are partnering with brick-and-mortar retailers. Sure, online retail brands can establish their own stores, but real-estate investments are risky and rent in trendy neighborhoods is high. While they want to offer customers the ability to try before they buy, they risk losing the advantages of being an online retailer—agility, lower costs. Instead of being tied down to one location, brands like Ritani, a jewelry designer and manufacturer, are partnering with retailer stores. Ritani has partnered with family-owned Long’s Jewelers to let customers to design a ring on Ritani’s site and have it sent to Long’s to try it on, examine, return or exchange it, leading to a better commerce experience and greater chance for a sale.
As you think about partnership opportunities, consider the assets you need and those you have to offer, as well as ways a partner can help you innovate and expand your business without extending beyond your core competencies. Of course, balance this against the need to build critical capabilities that are essential for your company’s long-term business growth and sustained competitive advantage.