It’s no secret that we have been observing rapid digital transformation for quite some time now; however, it’s safe to say the global pandemic played its role in speeding the process up.
For most companies, digitally transforming their product or services was seen as an optional strategy they could work towards over a prolonged period of time, yet, we all know that luxury was taken away rather abruptly. In fact, one study reported that Covid-19 had accelerated digital transformation by seven years, leaving many business owners with no choice but to open new digital channels to meet shifting consumer demands.
While there is no doubt that many of these new digital strategies are just “quick fixes” that will be dropped as soon as normality returns, many experts believe many consumers will continue to prefer digital services over the traditional channels.
In this interview, we turn to marketing expert and serial entrepreneur Jesse Willms for his thoughts on the rising importance of digitalization and the outlook for companies in the coming years.
What is driving digital transformation?
“The continued emergence of new technologies has always brought about a “sink or swim” dynamic for companies looking to maintain their competitive advantage. In general, digital transformation is seen as a way to improve outdated and inefficient processes while boosting innovation and opening up new opportunities that were not available beforehand.
The reason being is that the speed of digital processes is often much faster than the traditional process, thus massively increasing the efficiency and overall profitability of the companies that can effectively implement new strategies. The thing is, it becomes like a snowball effect. When one company adopts new technology, its competitors must follow suit if they want to keep pace with their rivals.
However, as we have seen over the last year or so, Covid-19 has dramatically changed the face of the business world, and as a result, we have seen an unprecedented shift to digital services. This meant many business owners redirected company resources to mitigate the lack of direct customer interaction to facilitate new digital channels of communication. The ones that we’re unable to see this need or failed to implement effective strategies faced devastating consequences as a result,” says Jesse
Does this actually create value for consumers?
“The main driver behind the rise in digital transformation is consumer-based, not from the companies themselves. You see, companies must adapt to the fundamental changes in consumer behavior, specifically the growing shift to online channels. As consumers have warmed to the idea of using eCommerce solutions for the majority of their needs, businesses have tried to create as much value as possible in the process in order to keep them coming back.
This means enriching the customer experience so they can find valuable and easy solutions to their problems. And with the use of social media, companies can execute targeted marketing campaigns while gathering live feedback from their customer base that they can then use to improve their products and services,” explains Willms.
What are the main benefits of a company that adopts digital transformation effectively?
“Other than increased customer satisfaction and improved engagement with consumers, there are plenty of benefits for companies can enjoy when onboarding a digital transformation process such as; enhanced data collection and improved accuracy, greater resource management, improved productivity, and of course, the ability to adapt to new changes more rapidly.
Remember, a fully digitalized company usually benefits from reduced costs (for a wide number of reasons), which in turn leads to vastly improved profitability,” says Willms.
What trends do you expect to remain after the pandemic is resolved?
“Companies are making these abrupt business changes with the long term in mind, so I fully expect many of the strategies we are seeing executed today to stay for the foreseeable future.
It’s likely that the economic recovery phase that we all expect to see once the pandemic has been resolved will still involve many customers preferring online channels for their products and services. In addition to this, we will continue to see many companies implementing big data analytics and cloud computing solutions into their business practices, as well as the continued implementation of new technology. Oh, and let’s not forget the facilitation of remote working for their employees too.
The fact of the matter is, businesses that were hesitant to digitize have been forced to take the plunge out of pure necessity. And with the ruthless nature of the business world, I expect those who adapt effectively will start to gain a considerable market share over their competitors. If businesses find success with their newfound digital marketing strategies, why would they go back?” says Willms.