It’s a fact: Every business will need to identify and implement a digital transformation in the next 5 to 7 years. Things are moving fast, especially in the realm of technology, and the pandemic has only expedited this inevitable evolution of business.
Digital transformations leverage technology to improve operations, enhance employee morale, provide more value, and serve customers better—online and in-person. In this post, you’ll learn why a digital transformation is do or die and what businesses are doing to thrive in today’s increasingly digital world.
Why Digital Transformation is Essential
Many small and midsize businesses are in dire need of a digital transformation overhaul. Old, poorly integrated software and outdated manual processes lead to extra work time for employees, weakened customer relationships, and business operations that are, put simply, more complicated than they need to be.
And in a world where consumers expect easy access and availability, businesses can’t afford to be behind the pack when it comes to making the lives of their customers easier with the help of tech.
According to this article in the Harvard Business Review, “Businesses of all sizes have had to rediscover the import of the human element in doing business and how to make the software that supports our most important business processes — how we deal with customers.”
Digital transformation is about making it easier to reach and do business with you.
Frontstage, it’s about creating an interactive, accessible, and digital experience that makes it easy to connect your customer with the solution you provide. Backstage, it’s about freeing up talent through tech integrations that optimize workflow, vendor relationships, ordering, inventory, AI optimization, and more. Doing this opens up the capacity to use talent and people power where it’s needed most: the human element of doing business that tech cannot replace.
Clunky, outdated processes take you and your team away from what should be your primary focus: serving your customers and ensuring a +1 experience every time.
And, nowadays, the optimization software available (chatbots, automated touchpoints, programs to engage and connect) offers a way to make connection easy for pennies on the dollar compared to the cost of wasted time using outdated methods.
How to Thrive with Digital Transformation
Many businesses have already leveraged digital to thrive despite being in uncertain times of crisis. In this section, I’ll highlight a few examples in hopes of sparking some ideas and opportunities to use in your own business.
The restaurant industry is one of the hardest hit by the pandemic. While many permanently closed their doors worldwide, others found a way to thrive despite lockdowns, limitations, and fluctuating mandates, and whether they were open or not.
How did they do it?
With a digital transformation. Some restaurants offered a creative subscription model to get consistent, recurring revenue. These subscriptions included produce boxes, virtual wine tastings, “Cocktail of the Month” packs, and meal deliveries. Enabled by an inexpensive app that allowed them to offer a subscription to their customers without the technical setup, these restaurants could either shift their offerings based on what their customers needed or still creatively provide their current offers.
Now, businesses of all kinds are rolling out subscription offerings to take the hassle out of recurring purchases for customers and boost cash flow for themselves.
Read this article to learn more about decoding a subscription model for your business (no matter what industry).
The popularity of QR codes has skyrocketed with the pandemic. Now, you can view entire menus on a device, and payments can be touchless. QR codes gained popularity in the restaurant industry when physical menus became a source of concern for the transmission of the coronavirus, but it looks like they’re here to stay.
QR codes can link to a website or payment page, depending on how you need to serve your customer.
Dynamic, trackable QR codes can also track where, when, and from what device a customer or potential customer scanned the code, providing valuable information about customer behavior and what they need. Paired with a Google Analytics integration, you can even get valuable insights into who is scanning your QR code, helping you better understand your niche and client avatar with actual data.
A new “last mile” delivery company called The Front Door Collective offers independent delivery companies – the ones that handle “last mile” delivery – an opportunity to open a franchise under its umbrella. According to this article, it offers “small to medium companies, who employ W-2 drivers, a chance to diversify with other eCommerce Shippers”. Their website goes on to explain, “The collective experience of FedEx, Walmart, Instacart, XPO, Amazon and the US Military built The FRONTdoor Collective to solve the fundamental challenges in last-mile delivery.” This franchised network is a new type of challenger to FedEx and UPS and was born out of a need for better, consistent, more reliable last-mile delivery options.
Digital Transformation: DO
Digital transformation is a must, no matter what your business. Even if you have a storefront, people no longer want to drive around looking for things. And even if people go to the store physically, they value the online presence and option to shop and check for items online before making the trip.
In a world of one-click Amazon purchases and one-day deliveries, local businesses need to be accessible, online, easy to interact with, and, most importantly, they need to provide that human-to-human experience that big-box online retailers simply can’t. To do this, leverage tech front and backstage to free up time and resources and focus on the most impactful parts of your business—the relationships and the solutions.
Finally, a digital transformation doesn’t have to break the bank. Nowadays, digital tools that cost thousands of dollars are hundreds (if not tens) because they’ve become more mainstream and easy to distribute widely.
There’s more to learn when it comes to executing a digital transformation for your business. Click here to join our email list (we carefully guard it and never abuse) and receive your free copy of the Never Waste a Crisis ebook.