Recent events have highlighted the importance for businesses to plan for what is ahead when looking at their digital transformation strategies.
From supply chain impacts, to connecting with customers and dealing with new hybrid working models and meeting staff expectations, the digital landscape is undergoing rapid change – make sure you don’t get left behind.
Before the financial upheaval that global events such as COVID-19 brought to 2020, businesses were on a journey of digital transformation at varying speeds. But in the last 18-24 months an unavoidable pivot has seen many businesses who have proactively embraced digital (particularly in the retail and ecommerce spaces) thrive in an unprecedented manner.
No matter what industry a business operates in, it needs to understand and identify how digital technologies can transform its operations. Understanding how to do this now can be the difference between having the capabilities to weather the next economic storm and overtake competitors or being overtaken.
The impact on future business landscape
There has been an integral shift in how a business can run thanks to global events such as COVID, and recognition that businesses need to be agile, flexible and open to embracing change. These changes can impact every facet of a business, from how and where employees engage, to how services and products are delivered to customers or engage with them for feedback.
The business landscape is now dynamic. It can leave some businesses feeling like it’s too late to capitalise on the commercial benefits of a digital pivot. However, defining a business’s understanding and appetite for digital transformation, will provide a strong starting point for exciting and positive long-term change. Having a digital strategy allows a map to be created that will bring new capabilities to the business with structure and accountability. This plan will help ensure what is invested creates value for the business in the right way and in a manner that can resolutely navigate changes to the business landscape. A three-step roadmap can look like:
- Profile the digital strength of the business
- Conduct an integrated strategy and digital session to uncover what opportunities are available
- Ensure results are focused on value, revenue, and cost benefits to the business
Embracing an omnichannel approach
To effectively communicate and connect with customers it is important to consider the digital landscape as an extension of how to reach them, and not as an alternative to physical channels. Taking a blended, omnichannel approach will see a business extend its reach, and engage across multiple touch points, building authority, trust, and authenticity in the eyes of a consumer.
Lessons learnt through traditional engagement channels, such as instore interactions, can and should be replicated and adapted across digital channels. Having a cohesive experience across all engagement channels empowers customers to choose an experience that suits them without sacrificing quality in experience and broadening the potential engagement lifecycle. For example, if an in-store customer is driven by a purchase to visit a particular website and signs up to the online marketing, there is then an opportunity to communicate where they could purchase products in-store, send regular restock updates, or share invitations to in-person or online events and sales.
Many digital tools allow for personalisation when communicating with consumers, for example e-commerce chatbots, website content management systems and e-newsletter software. A recent success in this space can be seen in e-commerce brand Femme Connection, a client who implemented a technology-platform that enabled them to install a “digital assistant” to simplify and personalise customer experiences and help them find the “right product” quickly and effectively. Doing so doubled, almost tripled purchase conversions and increased overall basket size by 7-10%.
Personalisation adds an element of authenticity, helping to build connection and facilitate engagement. As customers have increasingly relied on contactless services, there has been a tremendous push towards automation with incorporated personalisation, which has enhanced the ability to create a seamless, engaging experience for customers.
Increasing digital presence also allows a business to offer more to a customer beyond a product or service. Customers seek to engage with a business beyond what they sell, and using digital channels to share videos, articles and other engaging content will both build customer trust and a business’s industry authority. Further, digital platforms give access to valuable information on consumer behaviours, and in turn the ability to identify roadblocks to committing to a purchase. Using digital insights to help build a smooth customer engagement journey will not only improve conversion but also build repeat custom .
The importance of visibility
As more businesses embrace digital as a necessary part of their industry presence, the landscape is becoming increasingly crowded and undifferentiated. It’s more important than ever to ensure a business stands out. Certainly, having a Unique Selling Point (USP) helps it stand out from a product perspective, but without a considered approach to amplifying the message using digital channels, it will likely be lost in the sea of online noise.
As the number of businesses competing for online attention of customers grows larger, having a visually pleasing website is not enough. In a Google-dependent information economy, taking the time and resources to optimise search visibility is key to standing out amongst the crowd. Search visibility is one element of a digital strategy that can often be overlooked but have a high return on investment. While driving traffic using paid aids is a valid tool to drawing in customers, it should be used to support a strong organic digital presence. Optimising webpages for search engines using SEO and increasing search page ranking will not only draw more traffic to a website, increasing potential customer base, but also increase a business’s perceived authority within an industry.
The right digital partner can make all the difference in helping a business to thrive. Learn more about how a digital strategy can support your business through the insights in the Pitcher Partners ‘Digital Transformation in Private and Family-Owned Businesses’ report, or reach out to one of our experts today.