Understanding the digital needs across all aspects of your business is vital to business success and performance. I think the main point to realise is that even for a business which predominantly secures sales in a physical and face-to-face environment, having an online strategy also fills the many other stages within a customer’s buying cycle. Your online presence comes in two parts; one, understanding the digital needs of your customers, and two, understanding the digital needs of your business. These two parts will make up your digital agenda and will provide a clear picture and goal of where you are and where you need to be.
In a State of the Nation report released today by Ernst & Young, the findings present that Australian consumers embrace all facets of digital. In fact, 81% of Australians now own a smartphone. But, it appears that many Australian businesses, of all sizes, are still failing to get the digital fundamentals right and, “it appears few sectors have delivered true innovation in customer engagement”. David McGregor, EY Technology, Media and Entertainment and Telecommunications Leader states in the report that, “To date, a large amount of accelerated local digital innovation has been forced by global brands, which are highlighting Australia as a digital expansion market. Even though they are heralded in advance, many of these global incursions have caught local industries on the back foot. Those who have so far escaped without massive market disruption should stop resting on their laurels and start preparing for the inevitable”.
Inevitable it most certainly is. We only need to look at industry disruptors such as Uber and Airbnb to fathom the type of disruption McGregor is alluding to. For such a long time the traditional hotel and taxi business frameworks seemed to be able to stand the test of time. However, in an incredibly short amount of time, Uber has thrown the established taxi industry to the ground. What we’ve seen is that the digital disruption happened at such a frenetic pace that no digital strategy, plan or agenda ever created to combat the threat could ever have worked. The taxi industry was too slow and has become obsolete in every major capital city around the world. It is inevitable that technology and digital disruption will occur in each industry and sector, and it is for those small to medium businesses to ensure that they are progressive in their approach or risk being outperformed by those who have had the foresight to do so.