Channel shift: Prioritizing digital commerce
Navigating the human and business impact of COVID-19
March 31, 2020
Businesses must flex quickly to capture the opportunity; systems must be prepared to withstand the increased loads and actions must be implemented with pace. Below are immediate actions that they can take:
Within 24 hours
Rapid Customer & Channel Immersion
Rapid cross-functional style assessment of current issues, shifting consumer patterns, value chain breakage/pain points.
Identify critical individuals to give missing details on the major issues across the value chain.
Within 72 hours
Product Strategy & Prioritization
Triage and group the issues, pain points, and opportunities into a prioritized product backlog. Customer research identifies new patterns, marketplace strategy established to align with shifts in demand, supply chain audit completed, technology ecosystem partnerships identified.
Within 5 days
Product Teams Deployed
Initial pilot plan established at the conclusion of Week 1 sprint. Deployment of MVP in Initial Channel(s) (i.e. ”Hub”) with minimum required features to test strain on systems.
Identify marketing needs to drive awareness and demand.
Within 14 days
Analyze data from MVP based on initial consumer response and strain on existing supply chain or systems.
Dependencies outlined and optimized. Prepare for full launch at the conclusion of Sprint 2.
Scale & Sprint
Scale the launch of the successful pilot product/channels.
Begin the next sprint based on the prioritized backlog.
Three imperatives to take on the Now and the Next
The COVID-19 pandemic is rapidly accelerating the digital commerce pivot globally, forcing business to revisit and even reimagine their strategy in the interest of capturing new marketplace opportunities and their fair share of new digital customer segments.
How do I REASSURE my customers and employees during this uncertain time?
How do I STABILIZE digital operations with frictionless transactions and the capacity to handle increased demand?
How do I RECONFIGURE my products, services, and markets and establish new partnerships and ecosystems to retain new and existing customers?
There is unprecedented confusion on what, where and how to buy things—customers are concerned about who to buy from, if they’re paying a fair price or even if they’ll be able to find the essentials they need.
As a result, they are gravitating towards companies that are truthful, transparent and driven by a clear purpose.
These principles extend through customer channels and their engagement with retailers, as well as into Business-to-Business relationships and how companies work with their distributors, wholesalers, or manufacturing direct suppliers.
Companies who can demonstrate these attributes will deliver a differentiated level of customer service and make themselves more relevant and connected to their customers—old and new—on an ongoing basis.
01. Reassess your employee and customer policies in line with your brand purpose and values
02. Rally leaders around consistent communication
03. Identify opportunities to provide special assistance to key communities
04. Initiate an audit of your commerce experience to ensure it properly represents your brand
05. Establish a responsive listening and center
Imagine the accelerated demand of Cyber Monday, every day for the foreseeable future. The latest figures from the USDA’s Economic Research Service found that in 2018, food purchased away from home in the US accounted for 54 percent of total food expenditure.
With the closure of cafes, restaurants, bars and hotels and the grounding of airlines, much of this demand will need to be met by the grocery sector, online. That’s the new reality as mass quarantines and unpredictable retail stock availability cause online commerce to skyrocket. While this represents an opportunity to grow revenue, attract new customers and drive channel shift, it depends on digital channels and capabilities having appropriate scale and stability to handle the crush. Businesses must flex quickly to capture the opportunity, and systems must be prepared to withstand the increased loads.
01. Establish a Virtual Control hub
02. Run a UX Customer Journey assessment
03. Conduct a Marketing ROI assessment to optimize channel mix and redeploy investments
04. Reestablish supply chain visibilities and KPIs
With the closure of retail establishments, and the disruption of supply chains, the rules for merchandise and inventory have fundamentally shifted. Historical data on what sells online vs. offline is out the window. Companies now have a lot of inventory that they are sitting on in retail outlets that they need to figure out how to get online.
Businesses that have historically invested in digital commerce sales tools will likely have an easier time adjusting to this new, digital first economy, while those that have only made moderate strides will be more greatly disrupted. For example, traditional auto auction houses are shutting down, while on-line auctions are fast becoming the norm—even in a reduced volume business, those that are digital-prepared are seeing increases.
Many organizations – especially B2B companies who have traditionally been less digital sales focused – must now
01. Build your virtual aisle with an assortment assessment
02. Assess your workforce utilization to balance capacity and skills with new demands
03. Rapidly update digital content
04. Analyze Pricing and Promotions to optimize investment in price promotions across key customers and regions
05. Deploy off-the-shelf solutions to quickly get inventory online and establish digital as your primary sales channel
06. Extend your distribution partner ecosystem
07. Evaluate new immersive media opportunities
We do know for certain that business as usual has been disrupted significantly, and in many cases, permanently.
Yet, there is an opportunity to double down on digital commerce as customers rapidly change their shopping patterns and habits. As organizations adapt, their watchwords must be trust, relevance and convenience.
As the situation unfolds, we will continuously update our materials, so please check back regularly.
WE ARE HERE TO HELP.