Being the hedonist that I am, I regularly read the news on the fashion and luxury market. One of the very hot topics is digitalization and companies’ struggle with it. During the last days the interest in digitalization got another boost since Amazon announced their ambition in fashion, launching a new service “try before you buy” and revealed that they already signed up with Nike for a strategic partnership. To me this does not sound as if Amazon intended to go for low-end products.
From my own experience I can tell that Amazon’s customer service is excellent and the shop performance is hard to beat. Yes, I know that Amazon grew up with the internet, so to speak.
From Offline to Online. A Challenge.
This cannot be said about most other retailers, let alone the fashion brands I can think of. The typical high-end brand has a long history, high quality products, a carefully built brand, committed staff that gives excellent advice and mostly a clear idea of its target audience. What you just read it the description of the off-line world and the reason I like shopping.
The online world looks sobering. The performance is too slow by far, the filtering is inconsistent. Most online shops are hardly more than a catalogue on the internet. Information on the product, delivery time, refund policy etc. are hard to find. In many cases you see them only when you are already at the shopping cart typing in your credit card number. By the way, this shocks a lot of clients and they abort the payment process.
Creating An Emotional Online Experience that Sells
Some weeks ago I announced that I will provide some details on my CV. Well, I changed my mind since I think that it might be more useful to focus on how I can support your journey to digitalisation . But first I want to give you some information on what digitalisation could mean for your business.
Where to Start Digitalization?
A recent paper by McKinsey & Co speaks about 7 steps a CEO has to take in order to drive a successful digital transition: .
I will only discuss the two steps that seem the most important to me since I believe that the remaining ones are logical consequences of the first two which are
- Making Decisions
Make Bold Decisions
Set Ambitions for Your Business
Where do you want your business to go? I imagine that most retailers will run physical shops despite going digital and selling their products in an online-shop. So what products should be available online? What growth to you project? Maybe every product has to be treated differently? The questions are probably similar to the ones you answered for your off-line business which you know by heart.
Look at Your Clients
Your clients are the most important people in your organisation. So you should look at them long before you look at your processes. After all you run your organisation for your customers. They have been loyal to you because of your excellent products, your brilliant service, your reputation in your industry, your tradition etc. You see where we are going to: It is your brand. Your Brand is not just the hard facts. It is an emotion. It is what I said above about the off-line world.
It is important to have a well-performing e-commerce platform, there is no doubt about this. But of even higher importance is your clients recognising your brand that gives them the feeling of comfort and quality. So you need additional features to accomplish this.
Which ones? That is certainly not a question anybody could answer without a serious analysis of your customer’s journey. The method to visualize this is called customer journey map. The following video provides some valuable information on how to do it. The most important message is: a customer journey is something “personal”. It must be shaped for your brand and your clients.
Look at Your Processes
Digitalization will change the way you work dramatically. Not everybody in your company will like this so you have to sell the solution to stakeholders and to train people.
Let’s assume for a moment that the world was only black and white.
Black would be you buy a technical solution out of the box and organise yourself around this. I know a company who did so but depending on your business’ complexity this could be too black.
White in this case is the opposite and the system would be built around your processes and behaviours. I have never seen a company that did that since it is too expensive, too time consuming and digitalisation is also a good reason to get rid of old and obsolete habits and processes that maybe do not serve your business or your clients.
Just one word about planning. Most probably you cannot digitalise everything in one go. The risk is too high since your organisation must adapt to the changes and the cost could be stretching your budget.
So you have to set priorities on what to do first and set realistic timelines. Realistic or not: projects like this always bear surprises. It is realistic to prepare for an adventure worthwhile. After all you are about to win over the clients of the next generation.
P.S. If you still need my grandmother’s first name or my birthday please drop me a line .