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Become more customer-centric - Part 2: Digitise Your Business

We live in a digitally-enabled world. True, some people may not embrace it in the same way as others, but as the internet of things evolves our lives are only going to become more digitally-driven than they are today. We're online 24/7. As consumers we expect a digitally enabled experience with the retail companies we buy from. But to digitise your business can be tricky. A lot of companies are missing the ingredients required to embrace the digital world of business. In fact, only 15 percent of executives of large business believe that they have the right mix of staff, processes and skills to execute a successful digital strategy. So how do retail businesses adaptable to the modern consumer’s need for a seamless consistent, frictionless omni-channel experience?

Digitise your business - how's it done?

Many business owners become creatures of habit when it comes to their business practices. So implementing change can be seen as something of a hindrance. However, those same businesses need to look at the detrimental effect of not digitising their business model. To get an idea of what needs to be done to digitise your business, ask yourself what you lack that would enable the experience with you to be more relevant and convenient. This doesn't necessarily mean you need a mobile app! Look at it from the customer's perspective and work backwards. An app might work, if it faciliates the enablement of an improved experience in a convenient way. But not just because it's on a phone and everyone has a smartphones these days.

Also observe your competitors. Are you able to offer the same seamless experience they offer? And if not, how quickly can you implement changes to ensure your business becomes more customer-centric? What aren't they doing that you could, to create a burning point of differentiation? If your business is not able to provide the features that competitors do or don't offer, then it could be wise to see if there is a digital delivery partner that your business can work alongside so any such issues can be addressed accordingly. Companies like Iterate Studio help innovation seeking retailers do pick such partners, as well as specialist agencies like TH_NK.

The magnitude of how digital technology evolves means that businesses need to fully embrace digital disruption, not fear it. Granted, digital disruption means that the processes and values of the business may need to change in order to encapsulate the digital era. But such an exercise puts a business in good stead for any future advancements.

A business can only be digitised if it can overcome obstacles successfully. This can seem a little overwhelming in the first instance, especially if the business model has seen success via other avenues in the past. But this isn’t to say it can’t be achieved. A good example of a business embracing the digital era is Shop Direct in the UK. Its previous business model was a mail order company that had no digital presence whatsoever, and simply used catalogues that would be posted out to customers. Although this practice is still in place, the birth of the Internet meant that as a business, it had to conform to the digital era or risk extinction. In its current guise, Shop Direct has not only become fully digitalised, it has also sought assistance from relevant specialists so its digital ambitions can be achieved and it can adapt to the developing digital world easily.


Check out our next post in this series: Become More Customer-Centric – Part 3: Embrace mobile