Digital transformation has been a slow but continuous process for most businesses over the past decade. Furthermore, the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on both societal protocols and global economic stability have accelerated the progress of commercial digitalization even more.
When these are combined with the current rate of development that social media relevance is exhibiting, it is safe to conclude that most businesses worldwide will transition within the next few years.
But digital transformation is not an easy process. It is not only about choosing the right technology. Digitalization does not just revolve around social media marketing. Finding enough capital, albeit important, is not far from where the efforts should end.
To ensure your venture’s safety during your transition into the world of e-commerce, here are the four common pitfalls entrepreneurs encounter during business digitalization and how you can avoid them.
1. Failing to fully comprehend what digitalization is.
Digital transformation is not the goal. According to a Harvard Business Review article, there was a $900 billion loss out of the $1.3 trillion spent on commercial digitalization. That was only in 2018 alone. Moreover, out of all the digital transformation initiatives in 2019, only 30% reached their goals.
Research states that it’s mainly due to entrepreneurs seeing digitalization as an end rather than a means to an end. Businesses are jumping on the wagon and going digital just for the sake of following the trend. And this leads to unnecessary expenses and inefficient efforts.
You can avoid this by treating digital transformation as a tool to improve your current and future business strategies instead. Focus on your business strategies and commercial goals before tackling the technology. You should always consider the balance between commerce and tech.
2. Failing to invest in people.
Another reason most digitalization initiatives fail is the lack of effort in preparing employees for the change. Even through digital transformation, businesses will still be about people. The failure or delayed realization of this fact usually causes the demise of the companies.
No matter how advanced autonomous business technology could be, they are still considered tools. And in the end, people will still be the ones managing them.
You can avoid this by ensuring that your whole team will be prepared to adapt. Provide mandatory seminars to help them be better equipped for the coming changes. Promote training specialists and team leaders capable of ushering the team into the transition. Hiring technical specialists with invaluable insight regarding the tech can also provide immediate and long-term benefits.
3. Failing to prepare a contingency plan.
All the current data suggest that there’s still a wide margin of error for DT initiatives. With this in mind, it’s only sensible to prepare for the worst.
The transition can take longer than planned. Those who fail to prepare for this would often not have enough to start over.
Digitalizing a business is a quick way of making it relatively accessible worldwide. And this leads to a lot of risks. And these risks are more than the abundance of competition in the digital world. The data, systems, and brands of SMEs and big corporations alike are more susceptible to theft, plagiarism, and espionage. Any of which could lead to financial losses that are difficult to get back from.
You can avoid this by getting your business models, products, system patterns, and even ideas patented as soon as possible. Having lawyers for bail bonds on your speed dial might also come in handy during worst-case scenarios.
Having your business insured will always be crucial to your success. But more than that, keep in mind that ensuring multiple financial safety nets before transitioning is the best option.
4. Failing to consider the value of customer experience.
All forms of commercial ventures rely on customers. There will be no profit if there is no demand. Most businesses fail during their digital transition ironically due to the transition itself. The transition will cause multiple technological, managerial, and logistic considerations. Because of this, some companies fail to notice that it’s not only the company and its employees that change.
Failure to properly inform and guide the target market usually ends up with the customers feeling alienated and disinterested. Two things that drastically affect a company’s marketability.
You can avoid this by investing in improving your customer relations team. Building a team solely for social media management will be helpful as well. You should also ensure that your branding and core ideals remain consistent, if not gradually improved. And most importantly, do not let the sudden ease in operations blind you from the importance of maintaining a good relationship with your market. They are the lifeline of your business, after all.
Digital transformation is not a one-time process. And it won’t just happen overnight. Even the companies dominating the traditional industry take time with their transition. As they say, Rome wasn’t built in a day. But if you are fully prepared, you’ll get there no matter how long it takes.