Although the movement towards doing business in a digital first way has been underway for quite some time, the events of the last two years have sped up this transition significantly.
As a result of the widespread ‘lockdown’ orders and the subsequent measures put in place to limit amount of contact between individuals, many small businesses and companies relied on having digital shopfronts to do business and to serve their customers. And much like rapid changes in remote work and distance learning, the Covid-19 pandemic brought about profound digital transformations for many businesses across the world.
According to the OECD, the conditions brought accelerated the digitalisation of both public and private sector activities across the world. In particular, it triggered the improvement of broadband connectivity, the adoption of online business models, increased reliance on online payments, and the enhancement of digital skills.
Similarly, a survey conducted by the McKinsey Global Institute suggests that business responses to the Covid-19 pandemic accelerated the digitalisation of both customer and supply chain interactions and the internal operations of companies by around four years.
In the context of the online casino sector, these conditions have seen businesses using the likes of the Gaming Innovation Group to facilitate and support this type of transformational change. And in the fast moving world of the iGaming sector, these kinds of supports are vital to both short and long term success.
In light of all this, and with life beginning to return to ‘normal’ as the pandemic fades, an interesting question to consider relates to whether or not these digital transformations will stay in the coming years.
One factor that might dictate whether these changes stay in place for certain businesses is that the digital transformations that came in response to the pandemic required such high levels of investments, that they will unwilling to waste these resources. In this regard, rather than returning to ‘business as normal’, they are more likely to commit to the transformation they started and to view the digital landscape as the ‘new normal’.
Another factor is that these digital transformations have many benefits that businesses will simply be unwilling to give them up. For smaller businesses in particular, setting up a digital shop front has allowed them to reach new customers they might not have previously.
E-commerce proved to be a lifeline for small businesses during the pandemic. And as we return to doing more of our shopping in-person, it looks like a blend of both in-person and digital retail experiences are preferred.
Smaller businesses with a digital presence are primed to respond to this need, as they can provide a combination of e-commerce and smaller, more intimate shopping experiences. In this regard, having a digital presence is essential to businesses surviving today.
And whilst maintaining these digital shop fronts certainly comes with a hefty price-tag—particularly for small businesses trying to stave off the worst effects of the cost of living crisis—it also allows for the creation of useful customer data that can be used to inform the direction of the business.
With all of these factors in mind, the World Economic Forum has recently argued that a failure to go digital will see thousands of businesses across the world going bust.
How to think about going digital
It is thus clear that business are faced with a pressing need to respond to an increasingly digital business environment.
However, it is also clear that ‘going digital’ is not an easy process by any stretch of the imagination and comes with a number of associated costs. If businesses want long term success in the digital age, they should think about ‘going digital’ in a more holistic manner, rather than as a specific or targeted ‘change’ that can be made.
With that said, here are some tips to ‘thinking digital’ in the internet age that should help to ease the transformation:
• Make ‘going digital’ a business wide effort: Bringing about an effective digital transformation should be something everyone in the business is actively involved in at all levels. Don’t leave it up to one individual, make it a team effort that everyone has input into.
• Embrace the learning curve: The process of digitally transforming your business will not be easy by any stretch of the imagination. Accept that it is challenging and will require creative thinking and resilience to get through.
• Understand that digital transformations must be widespread: Rather than being a targeted or singular solution, going digital should be understood as a widespread change that will impact all aspects of your business.
• Know that it will require leadership: Although digital transformation will require buy-in from everyone involve in the business, it will also need to be supported and driven by someone in the business who can champion the changes underway and lead where necessary. Organizational leaders will help to sustain the momentum of the transformation underway and to ensure all relevant stakeholders are sufficiently engaged with the process.
If you fail to properly appreciate both the reasons for going digital and the steps involve, there are significant potential costs for businesses. This includes a loss of relevance, sacrificing your competitive advantage in the marketplace, missing out on collective key analytics and important business data, losing market share, struggling with employee retention, and stifling company and revenue growth.