Going digital is the new business imperative, it’s no longer an optional extra or a nice-to-have.
For years, we’ve been told that the consumerisation of IT will lead to customers calling the shots, in terms of the businesses they buy from and the products and services they want.
The convergence of cloud computing, mobile technology, social media and thousands of other innovations means that a whole host of new consumer engagement tactics are available – and those who fail to make use of them will doubtless be left behind.
Ultimately, the question in the back of many business owners’ minds is, “How much do Ireally needto digitise?” And whenever I’m asked this question, my immediate response is usually to ask a question in return: “How close do youreally wantto get to your customers – past, present and future?”
Related: Will jobs really be impacted by the digital revolution?
Why go digital
Any business, whether it’s a cutting-edge digital advertising agency or a one-man artisan, can reap untold benefits from digitisation when it is applied prudently. We’ve entered an era of worldwide digital maturity that has transformed the supply-and-demand economy to one of pure demand.
The power dynamic we’ve become so used to has shifted dramatically, and it’s never been easier for consumers to take their business to your competitor at the first sign that they are offering something that you are not. But, just what is that special something? In the world of business digitisation, these are the perfect places to start.
1. Customer journey and experience
With most businesses already having taken the step of creating a website and surrounding it with other forms of digital marketing like social media, many are now realising this simply isn’t enough.
For consumers, the almighty smartphone or laptop screen is the window to the world – and if the amount of information currently accessible online is anything to go by, it is entirely without borders, limitations and restrictions when it comes to getting your brand noticed. Consumers expect your business to be reachable 24 hours a day, and digital tools are the only practical way for an organisation to do so.
If someone told you that, for a price, they could detail exactly how your customers behave, how they think, how they buy, and what they want from the businesses they buy from, what would you say? What business owner would turn down such an offer?
A surprising number, apparently, when one considers that this is exactly what data’s biggest point of value is in the business landscape. Gone are the days of the ‘captive market’, when buying decisions were based predominantly on geographical proximity.
Related: What is Digitalisation and what does it mean for your business?
Today, it’s just as easy to order a product from across the globe as it is to buy locally, making the need for improved consumer insights on a global level all the more urgent.
3. Capturing tomorrow’s customers today
From pocket-sized devices to smart watches and RFID chips – the future of mobility is changing fast. First there was portable. Now, it’s wearable, and in a shorter time than most think, our mobile devices will be permanently implanted into our bodies and, with them, much of the day-to-day communication we take for granted.
Your business’s founders might be scared of the future, but your most valuable customers are not – and the customer, as they say, is always right. They are more reachable than ever, but is your business doing what it takes to reach them at the right time, in the right place, and on their own terms?