Digitalization is not just a new buzzword used by everyone in the business world every now and then. Technologies are indeed creating the new digital economy and it’s essential for every company not to lag behind. Basically, there are only two options: either a business embraces the innovations and continues growing or it ignores the changes and becomes not viable in the next few years.
It’s also worth mentioning that the above equally applies to both: so-called online businesses with core activity concentrated on the Internet (e.g. online shops, affiliate marketing, software development, etc.), and traditional businesses operating mostly offline (e.g. warehouses, aerospace companies, different kinds of manufacturers etc.).
But why do you need a website if your company does not sell anything online? And why do you need to create advanced apps for your business? Well, there are a number of reasons for that. Let’s talk about this.
Why any business needs a website
There are a lot of reasons to have a website: customers’ convenience and the increase of their engagement, opportunity for you to expand your market and show your credibility; ability to be available 24/7 and boost sales by adding an additional channel of distribution etc.
We believe these reasons are self-explanatory so we won’t stop on them in this article. Instead, we want to share some numbers with you as they are more convincing than any other arguments we may find:
- 2017 global B2C e-commerce sales constituted $ 2.3 billion in 2017 and it’s expected that the market size will grow twice by 2021.
- 4 in10 purchases nowadays are made via online channels
- 81% of shoppers conduct online research before buying a product
- 55% of buying decisions are influenced by online reviews
- 57% of online shoppers made their online purchases from the overseas retailer
As you may see, the stats leave no space for doubts about how important a website is to any company. But is this enough for a business to stay on track and maximize a company’s potential? The answer is “Definitely, no”. Technologies are always evolving and, if you don’t keep up with innovations, it’s quite hard to retain existing customers, as well as engage new ones.
Yet, it’s sometimes quite challenging to decide whether you really have to implement new technologies or invest in something else that will yield better results. For this reason, below we outlined tell-tale signs that digital transformation is the first thing your company needs right now (even if it already has a website).
Is it time to digitally refresh your company?
Digitalization is not limited to one digital product, it’s rather a holistic approach to running a business. To determine whether your IT environment needs revitalization, look at these symptoms of digital “ailment” your company may have.
You still use legacy office technologies
It’s a common situation faced by many companies. At some point in the history, probably near a quarter of a century ago, office technologies promoted a lot of positive changes in the business world, opened new opportunities for enterprises and helped them reach new horizons. However, the digital “evolution” didn’t stop at that point and the changes are happening so rapidly that the same technologies may have an opposite effect today.
The obsolete software can still work “normally”. But the problem is that the companies that managed to replace them with more innovative solutions will always have a competitive advantage over those which continue exploiting legacy systems.
While you may think that it’s too costly to replace obsolete technologies, as we see from our experience, it’s much more expensive not to do this. The outdated technology systems are not just slowing down the daily processes in your company, they jeopardize its cybersecurity, impede data accessibility and affect overall employees’ productivity. So when deciding which option is more budget-friendly, we strongly recommend you to look at the big picture.
Story of victory:
Digital transformation of Putnam Investments, an investment management company, was driven by the desire of its top management and employees to make the firm a digital business of the future. The changes touched many aspects of Putnam Investments’ activity, but streamlining the workflow was one of their main parts. Specifically, the company implemented search tools resembling Google and collaboration tools resembling Facebook. According to Putnam Investments’ CEO Bob Reynolds, such innovations helped significantly improve the company’s performance.
You think that business automation is a scary path
It’s not always easy to trust your business to machines. What if something goes wrong and you don’t have control over it?
The first and the foremost thing you should understand about business process automation is that it’s not about losing control it’s about gaining it. Different tools and software solutions are aimed at helping companies’ top management spot early warning signs signaling that things are going in the wrong direction and take necessary measures before it’s too late. Besides, you’ll be able to track the company’s financial and overall health and timely identify all the bottlenecks that decrease the efficiency of separate processes. And these are just a few of many opportunities you miss when you manage the company’s activity “manually”.
Story of victory:
Armstrong World Industries is an international manufacturer of walls and ceilings. In 2015-2016, it invested into automation of business operations that not only saved company’s money, but also made its activity more transparent to the shareholders. Financial applications implemented by the company made it easy for anyone to track money spending while analytical tools allowed employees to timely identify quality issues.
Your website is working slowly
As mentioned, even if you have a website, it doesn’t mean you don’t need web development. Nowadays, customers are more demanding than ever before. As many as 53% of visitors abandon a website if it takes more than 3 seconds to load a page and 46% of users will never return to a website that performs poorly. So if your website is hard to use or doesn’t have the responsive design or it just looks ugly, you have no time to hesitate.
Redesigning your website is probably the easiest thing you can do to help your business on its way to innovations, but, if done right, you’ll see the positive changes almost immediately.
Story of victory:
Kinokuniya is a bookstore operating in several countries. The company wanted to streamline book findings and improve the mobile and web usability. To do this, they redesign their website, so it has the following features: customized book recommendation, easy navigation with mega-menu and visual suggestions on the search bar. The changes increased customer engagement and helped the company grow its membership.
If you need more information on how to make your site look compelling, here’s a separate >article on this topic.
You don’t have a holistic digital strategy
As mentioned, digital transformation is a comprehensive process. It’s not just something you add to the scope of your business activity, it’s the way you think about your business. For this reason, innovations have to be embedded in every aspect of your company’s life. In other words, all your system (e.g. front-end and back-end) have to be connected with each other that also involves the integration of user experiences across different platforms (e.g. desktop and mobile devices).
Hence, if you want to get all the benefits new technologies bring, think about separate digital products (e.g. a website or online marketplace or mobile app) as about the different puzzles of one big picture.
Story of victory:
Digital transformation of Domino’s Pizza is a great example of an integrated solution. The company developed AnyWhere platform that allows customers to order a pizza through any app, for example, Google Home, Slack, Facebook Messenger etc. Not only did it promote sales, but it also increased customer engagement and improved loyalty to the brand.
The importance of having a website is no longer a subject for discussion. Yet, just being online is no longer enough to stay on the cutting edge of technological disruption. Innovations are changing the rules of the game and, to survive in the new environment, companies need to keep up with such changes. If your business uses outdated technologies, its processes aren’t automated, the website performs poorly and you still don’t have a digital strategy, it’s high time for you to think about web development and maybe about advanced apps for your business as well.
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