Why are businesses going digital?
July 28, 2021
COVID-19 pandemic has made the “digital factor” mandatory for the survival and sustainability of any organization. Companies are undergoing a digital transformation by changing their business processes to meet emerging customer demands and expectations through the use of technology. The transformation of a business from physical to digital mode provides an opportunity for these companies to become more flexible and transparent.
McKinsey in its Global Survey of Executive Report has stated that the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the rate at which businesses are going digital. That is, businesses despite their size have been forced to rethink their business models, and operations by adopting digital technologies in a matter of weeks instead of years. One could see the rate at which digital transition has been happening due to the COVID-19 crisis in various parts of the world in the image below.
In this article, we at Workik will list out reasons why businesses are going digital and case studies of how general merchant/grocery stores and retailers were forced to adopt a digital strategy due to the pandemic.
Reasons For Businesses Going Digital
There are so many different reasons why businesses go digital. Most of these reasons are centered on meeting the ever-changing customer needs through the adoption of modern technologies. During the COVID-19 pandemic, most businesses were forced to undertake digital transformation to either survive or perish.
1. Diverse Revenue Channels
Despite their size, the businesses need to diversify their revenue sources to sustain and survive when an emergency occurs. The business can create additional revenue channels by offering subscription-based models to customers and setting up e-commerce websites. For example, when the brands provide monthly or yearly customized subscriptions, they can generate a stable income from the users. Social media also helps in generating reliable clientele.
2. Reduces Operational Costs
Businesses can adopt digital technologies for a wide range of functions to reduce operational costs. The cost of building and maintaining a website is fairly low. They can employ automation tools for repetitive mundane tasks such as sending reminders for payment, sending thank you emails to customers, keeping tabs on business accounts, and much more. They can adopt software such as CRM to manage leads and get increased insights on customers.
3. Customer satisfaction
Customers worldwide are obsessed with the latest technology and social media as they want quick solutions for the problems that they face. In such cases, a digital strategy will provide valuable insights into the customer needs and their specifications. Also, it will help the businesses to deliver their product and services at the convenience of the customer, right to their doorstep.
4. Operational Flexibility
Whenever businesses adopt a digital strategy, it helps them respond faster to emerging customer needs. For example, demand for contact-less delivery emerged among customers during the pandemic. Businesses can cater to this need faster by providing a digital application to customers where they can place their orders. This not only helps businesses make revenues but also helps them reduce costs.
5. Business Competitiveness
The competitors who are going digital can cater to new customers and a larger market than the ones who are not. Thus, the adoption of modern technologies is seen as a necessity to keep up with the competitors and changing customer demand. The digital strategy will help the business optimize its operations and provide a competitive edge.
Digital Transformation Stories of Businesses during COVID-19
General merchant/Grocery Stores
With the rise in COVID-19 cases and the emergence of distancing norms, customers preferred to stay home. The organized supply chain and distribution networks that were working perfectly came to a halt due to lockdown restrictions. To fill the new gap that emerged, the general merchant stores came forefront to cater to the demands of the customers in the neighbourhood areas.
The Kirana stores that have been traditionally offline went online by the adoption of Digital Platforms like SnapBizz. Through this digital technology, the stores could provide a platform where customers could place their orders and make payments online. Also, they used this app for different purposes like managing their inventory.
The technology not only helped these stores to increase their revenue but also helped them acquire new customers in the neighbourhood through personal touch and proximity. The success of the Kirana stores can be seen in the fact that during the pandemic, more than 80% of these stores saw a surge in customers.
The research states that more than 1 million Kirana stores went digital and more than 70% of Kirana stores are inclined to go digital due to COVID-19. This digital strategy of the general merchant stores helped the customers meet their needs when they were not willing or could not step out of their homes. Thus, this is one of the most successful digital transformation stories.
The retailers who had brick and mortar business models were forced to close down their stores as their products and services were deemed as “not essential” during the lockdown restrictions. Thus, retailers were forced to shut down, re-evaluate their product lines, reduce costs and streamline their products.
When customers stopped going to physical stores, the retailers went online to reach customers. They did this by making use of digital platforms such as e-commerce websites. This not only helped the retailers to make revenue but also helped them reduce overhead costs of a physical store such as rent, electricity among others.
The retailers are also seen adopting digital strategies such as social media such as Whatsapp for businesses to provide home deliveries, email newsletters to provide personalized content and offers. Apart from this, the retailers leveraged digital platforms to enable their customers to play online games, quizzes, and puzzles to win prizes.
The retailers took the vacuum created by the COVID-19 pandemic to re-strategize their business to cope up with any disruptions that might occur in the future. They are doing this by aligning their physical in-store and digital experience to create personalized customer service across all touchpoints.
Digital strategy amidst COVID-19 pandemic
The businesses before the adoption of a digital strategy need to ask themselves some fundamental questions such as what their business is about, where do they aim to take their business forward, and what are the ways available with them to fulfill their long-term objectives.
Based on the answers, the companies need to adopt those technologies that they believe will help them in the success of the business. Also, it is important for them to take measures beforehand to protect themselves from any disruptions that might occur in the future.
Thus, understanding and defining the digital strategy of a company and its core values is essential to harness the power of digital transformation. Read this article to learn more about how to take a business online .
Start to a digital world
COVID 19 pandemic has shown the business owners including local convenience store owners that they need to adopt a digital strategy to survive. These businesses can make use of digital technologies such as online payment gateways to accept payments to cater to the needs of busy customers who don't want to step out of their homes.
Having a website gives the business a new start to a digital world. It increases the customer awareness of their brand products, drives traffic, leads to sales, and thus, profits. Most importantly, a website will help your business to generate leads when you are sleeping and where there is no employee to answer customer queries.