In their first guest post for 2020, Kornit Digital shares advice for retailers to enhance their digital experiences and up digital capabilities, for a post-COVID future.
E-commerce was booming long before we even imagined COVID-19. In 1999, global e-commerce amounted to $150 billion; by 2017 global e-commerce transactions were generating $2.38 trillion, which represented 10.4% of total retail sales. In 2023, it is expected to reach $6.54 trillion and represent 22% of total retail sales.
And then came COVID-19.
According to a Capgemini Research Institute survey of more than 11,000 consumers worldwide, conducted in early April, the appetite for online shopping has never been bigger, and will continue to grow once the COVID-19 emergency decreases. Nevertheless, consumers will still expect safer in-store and last-mile practices. In addition, a majority (over 53%) will look for companies that embody a sense of purpose and have strong sustainability credentials.
E-commerce occupies a huge position in this uncertain time and is the safer way to shop, which is why we believe businesses should take the following three steps at this time:
- Organize around the chaos. Everything at this point is aimed at solving problems or responding to needs arising within days or weeks. Speed is the relevant currency. No changes are possible, yet this is the right time to plan ahead strategically; distinguish what to postpone (investments, business plans, financial plans) from what is an immediate need.
- Simplify and strengthen. This is the time to integrate digital and physical operations. Accelerate and renovate touchpoints defining the digital customer journey. Infrastructure must support that level of activity for the near term while building to compete differently as the disrupted economy progresses. Businesses must understand what needs to be simplified and what needs to be strengthened and expanded, which processes they need to eliminate, and what is the right infrastructure.
- Speed up and create “born digital” products. These unusual times bring a mandate to digitize and thus serves as a blank canvas to spark innovation in a new world. This is the time to reduce inventory and move to a lean and efficient supply chain that is enabled only with digitization.
This is the time to build the next-generation business models. This is the time to challenge legacy conventions, train for new leadership and expertise, and innovate across the business.
Even though e-commerce is now focused on digital shopping, this isn’t just about the shopping experience. There is a need for a total, integrated, and seamless digital supply chain that meets the needs and expectations of the evolved customer with speed to market, using sustainable practices, enabling self-expression.
There is a need for a seamless, intuitive, integrated model that blends digital shopping and digital production.
This is indeed an incredibly unusual time and now is the chance to get things right.
For retailers, boosting digital capacity is not a question. Beyond pricing, those retailers that go the extra mile to enhance digital experiences and capabilities for each touchpoint throughout the customer journey will stand out against competitors.