As COVID-19 continues to disrupt lives, companies must transform themselves to interact with customers digitally. Ecommerce is no longer a luxury and the impact of COVID-19 proves that an online presence for companies is now a basic necessity.
Companies like Instacart and Zoom Video Communications have skyrocketed their market share not only from a share price standpoint but also in terms of their customer base.
With weeks lost in the hope of recovering from COVID-19, companies are beginning to shut down temporarily. However, the impact of these temporary shutdowns may be long-lasting, and in the current scenario, it will be hard to gauge the long-term deficit. As a business, you must ask some critical questions. Is your company ready to handle the emerging push towards online? Are you prepared to interact with customers digitally? Do you have the capability to innovate and differentiate digitally?
Several questions point to one objective ─ Digital is an absolute must to reach your customers in the emerging post-pandemic world.
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But, why is it important for companies to be digitally ready? Experts suggest that even after the lockdown period ends, customers will limit their social interactions and choose online shopping over in-store shopping. That’s why even for a small mom and pop shop, having an online presence has become an absolute necessity. However, for every level of online presence, companies must revisit and restructure their online presence to prepare for aggressive levels of customer interaction.
Large enterprise-grade companies will have to revisit and reevaluate if they really are ready for online interaction. Below are a few questions that large enterprises must ask themselves as they assess their digital readiness:
- Do we have enough channels prepared to understand the customer?
- Can we provide seamless cross-channel interactions without losing the customer?
- Can we personalize customer journeys without a great deal of transition?
- Can we identify the customer needs with our current digital presence?
- Are our websites ready to handle the excess traffic load?
- Are our ecommerce functions enabled sufficiently to interact?
Medium to large companies are usually a safer bet during times of disruption because customers expect to have an ease of digital interaction. If the current platforms are running on an untrustable, low scale infrastructure, this is the time to act and react. Apart from the questions asked in the large enterprise scenario, medium level enterprises also must be ready to answer the following questions:
- Are we scaled substantially to handle the traffic?
- Do we have enough channels to reach the customer?
- How to understand and react to customer needs through digital interaction?
- As a company, are we even enabled to see the communications from the customers?
- Is your back office ready for digital transactions?
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Small to medium companies will get the most impacted by the transformation. Repeat customers, yearly revenues, and customer interactions are critical to these companies. They must start preparing to innovate their digital transformation. For companies in the small to mid-range, the evaluation is more significant and hard to quantify or qualify the readiness. They must focus on the following areas:
- Innovative ways to reach customers like AI chatbots, and automated chat assistants.
- Gauge their ecommerce load capabilities and find ways to interact digitally instead of in person.
- Create a complete digital experience for their customers rather than a patched temporary solution.
- Enable their company to work distributed with online tools.
- Reach their customers with better SEO and keywords.
- Understand browsing patterns by enabling a solution that can provide data such as clicks, page closures, keyword searches, etc.
- Enable their marketing channels to integrate with digital commerce functions.
10 strategies to prepare for emerging opportunities
Often companies should ask themselves if they are ready to move their business online. It requires more than just an ecommerce site. What can you do? Analyze and start the journey now. Here are the few things which can help to enable the ‘Ready to Drive’ kit:
- Strategize – Response is the key in the current paradigm of online interactions. Evaluate your cost to conversion funnel to the customer conversion funnel.
- Encourage the moment – Establish a baseline and mention the pandemic to attract more customers, it’s a support to the community and also a growth to the company.
- Reach the at-home audience – Enable your digital channels to reach those customers based out of home, like creating mobile apps, or voice interactions on Alexa.
- Reach socially – Even though the social distance is the slogan, prepare your customer-facing channels to integrate with social channels digitally, let your customers know what you do for the community, and what you do to serve your customers.
- Continue campaigning – Keep calm and keep reaching out to your customers digitally in the form of campaigns and electronic channels like emails, Adwords, etc.
- Economize the articles – Prepare your catalogs for increase sales using functions like bundling, cross-selling, and upselling at discounted rates.
- Digitalize where needed – Unless there is an absolute need to have a human touch, digitalize the interaction using chatbots and AI-based conversations.
- Own the virus – Show your support to the community, reach the market via articles and blogs, and brand your products to support the elimination of COVID-19.
- SEO and keywords – Optimize the search engines to reach your site under challenging times, let the customer know you are still operating normally, and even optimized with all the disruptions.
- Evaluate the digital performance – Compare and benchmark to one level higher concerning performance digitally.
The market is changing rapidly and a large number of customers are interacting with businesses digitally. You either turn this into an opportunity or let this become a reason for potential failure. We at TA Digital are here to help. As part of supporting our customers during these hard times, we are offering a ‘Free of IoT’ services. Contact the TA Digital team to learn more.
About the Author
Venkata Sundaragiri is the Head of the SAP Practice at TA Digital. With 22 years of experience in implementing SAP projects, Venkata has multi-industry experience in providing customers the best of breed innovations in customer experience and relationship management.
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