This pandemic has triggered an exodus of companies to accelerate into the digital space.
Its impact on businesses has been on four crucial fronts. Rapid and continual change in customer behavior and needs, demand unpredictability, erosion of old channels of service and product delivery, remote workforce.
As we head into the festive period perhaps its a good time to not only reflect and cogitate what 2020 was all about, it's also time to rethink how business is going innovate how to continue to build a sustainable business for 2021 and beyond, because as we know waiting for the vaccine to solve your problems isn't the most proactive of strategies.
In the next 90 days CEOs should ask their business leaders to assess how the needs and behaviors of their most important customers have changed and benchmark their digital channels against those of their competition or closest disrupter.
This information should form the basis of a renewed digital agenda that should take no longer than 15 - 30 days to establish.
At the start of this crisis consumers elected to use those businesses they could deal with via the internet because they couldn't go out - a change in behaviour that's now become ingrained.
For many others it was an opportunity to satisfy 'curiosity with intent' that could be leveraged by eCommerce businesses - many of them that up until now had a 'good enough' customer experience mindset.
Are those companies who are still thinking this could just be a short term change in behaviour simply sticking the head in the sand, or are they going to recognise that this pandemic could have simply edged those undecided people closer to brands and businesses who seemed to serve them well and provide something more than 'good enough experience'?
The reality is there is a cumulative effect in place; source: Techment.com
- Timelines to go digital have shrunk from 4-5 years to just 6-12 months.
- Unprecedented Quantum of Change: Like many other sectors, US e-commerce saw its penetration rise by 17%, to reach 33% in just two months!
- Telehealth usage has skyrocketed, and the industry has become more tech-hungry.
- Data and Analytics Demand Exploded: The pandemic has everyone trying hard to drive business insights from data.
- Conversational AI, RPA, and IPA are seeing an astronomical rise in their demand and will keep gaining momentum and SMEs have a lot to gain out of these game-changing technologies
For many companies customers have already migrated to digital channels.
Pre-Covid the 'journey' tended to be biased towards the internal goals of the company, post-Covid this needs to take an even greater customer bias in order the experience is one that amazes and encourages advocacy.
Employees are already working fully remotely and are agile to some degree. Companies have already launched analytics and artificial-intelligence (AI) initiatives in their operations. IT teams have already delivered at a pace they never have before.
But for most companies, the changes to date represent only the first phase of the changes that will be necessary.
Growth, your agility and ability to deliver it at speed will make a key difference to your medium to longer term sustainability.
Social media is a free to use, free to access medium that's helping to democratise 'share of voice'.
Once you have reset the 'Why' people should choose you over your competitor digital savvy leaders should start to think about what an enterprise wide 'social strategy' actually means.
We are already witnessing the 'Exodus to Digital: The world is switching to XaaS model, i.e., Everything as a Service, and no company wants to miss out.
Many companies are accelerating their shifts toward digital-first models—at warp speed. One European variety-store chain, for example, established a fully functioning e-commerce business in just three months. The online business was interconnected across all functions (warehousing, merchandising, marketing, customer support, et cetera) and improved basket size over physical stores by three times as well as delivering nearly 3 percent like-for-like revenue growth in its main market.