Increasing your metabolic rate

Digital waits for no one

We’ve been told the high street has been dying for years…

People generally prefer home comforts to braving the harsh British weather. A lot of you responded, making that first leap into digital transformation. Some, however, sat idly by, content in their comfort zone of brick and mortar – or scared and directionless.

Now, COVID-19 has dragged the truth of the statement into the light and we can see just how frail physical commerce is. Online sales as a proportion of all retailing reached a record high of 22.3% in March 2020 and remain 50.4% higher than February’s pre-coronavirus levels (as of July). Your customers still expect that same experience and brand offering they got in your stores, except it’s now from their sofas.

It’s clear to see the early bird gets the worm. We saw it with the end of the recession in 2008. Companies such as Amazon accelerated and increased their sales thanks to decisive and timely action. Their sales grew by 28% in 2009 and this is down to their excellent anticipation of change and customer-centric offering. They described their vision of business in 2008 as “relentlessly focusing on customer experience”, whilst offering customers low prices, convenience, and a wide selection of merchandise. It worked.

Taking the initiative and expanding what you can offer is vital. Your customers have the luxury of choice. Brand loyalty is becoming more about what you can present to them online.

A survey by Bazaarvoice found that from 8,000 global consumers questioned, 39% said they purchased from new brands during the lockdown. For UK consumers, 23% stated that key drivers to try new brands were the ability to shop online and 44% said that their reason for trying new brands was because of the product offering.

If you were to ask us for one shining beacon of digital agility, we would point you towards sofa.com. They set a fantastic example of what a little decisive action and being customer-focused can do. Sofa.com, like many retailers, were faced with a sink or swim situation as the initial UK wide lockdown was imposed. They recognised that customers’ homes needed to be a bastion of comfort. Seeing an opportunity, they sought our help, and within weeks they started offering a new range of plush garden furniture.

So how did that stack up? Online traffic on sofa.com has increased by almost 150% since the start of lockdown, according to SEMRush. Acting fast to meet customer needs – coupled with a feature-rich and responsive e-commerce platform – proved a worthwhile course of action.

Investing marginally into digital is no longer enough. Experimenting had its place, but the luxury of time has been taken away. Get left behind, and you’ll drop off the radar. In order to compete digitally, active scale-up is a must. And you need to be in it to win it. We know that a high-cadence digital program that is tested remains under pressure and constantly evolves is the best way to face up to the unpredictability and challenges ahead.

And the customer needs to be at the centre of it all.

We’re proud to say that one of our clients, Brakes, truly understands this. As a leading foodservice wholesaler, they stepped up and then some. Traditionally supplying food to restaurants, pubs, prisons and schools, they saw, like the rest of us, how shoppers were struggling to get anything from delivery slots for online food shopping to toilet roll and flour, faced with empty shelves and long social distanced queues at the supermarkets. Having supported them in several digital transformation projects, we worked around the clock with Brakes to plan, create, test and deliver the implementation of a D2C e-commerce site on SAP Commerce Cloud. In just nine days. Without any impact on Brakes’ vital food-delivery and supply chain network. Complete with a robust D2C checkout process, their new consumers had access to over 6,000 products, with the option to click and collect, or arrange delivery, to over 6.8 million households in the UK.

Clearly, there’s no need to start a brand new (digital) business. Changing fundamental elements and focusing on an agile business model is the way to adapt to the rapidly shifting topography. Diverge from the legacy ways of working – set teams to work on objectives focused on outcomes and a culture that fosters agility.

It’s no longer about scrum masters – it’s about quick, adaptive change and being alive to opportunity.

We recognise that now is a new opportunity for brands to accelerate their digital transformation. Fewer distractions (meetings, travel) means a chance to apply a new rhythm to your company. Not trudging towards digital, accelerating it. 

39
Purchased from new brands during lockdown
23
Try new brands based on the ability to shop online
44
Try new brands based on their product offering