THE unprecedented Covid-19 pandemic that swept through the world has now resulted in a drastic change among the business community.
In the aftermath of necessary isolation measures to stop the spread of the deadly virus, businesses need to adapt to the digital realm to survive and sustain through the times.
This is where digital transformation comes in. Simply put, digital transformation is the exchange of a physical process for a digital one.
One prime example is creating a new channel for physical stores to pivot towards the online marketplace or using social media as a marketing platform. Even filling up forms electronically rather than physically is considered digital transformation.
The pandemic aside, the biggest drivers of digital transformation are digital literacy and advances in technology. Also, as technology evolves and improves, it becomes easier to use and also more economical, which has accelerated adoption rates.
In e-commerce, today’s customers are more discerning and expect increasingly personalised experiences. Businesses now have to communicate directly with their customers to show value and cater to their needs.
The business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce space today has seen much change and improvement as compared to its predecessors. Most B2B e-commerce sites now are user-friendly and intuitive, making it easier for customers to navigate and use.
This is made possible by currently available technology, such as big data, which allows businesses to provide highly personalised shopping experiences through the use of artificial intelligence (AI).
Today’s e-commerce players are lucky in the sense that there are many digital technologies available to provide convenience, flexibility, effectiveness and efficiency.
However, undergoing a digital transformation is not a simple process.
Fusionex managing director Jacob Isaac shares, “While many companies are moving forward with their digitalisation strategies, few have successfully adopted mobile strategies to create an on-the-go experience where customers can literally shop anytime, anywhere.
“This all ties to millennials and zoomers growing up with mobile devices and now having spending power. As smartphones contain a lot more information than a computer, it is possible to perform deeper analytics to create more meaningful connections.”
In his opinion, the future of e-commerce is going to be more conversational than ever and not just limited to human interaction, as online customers are reciprocating to automated interactions such as chatbots.
He shares his opinion, “We must start from automated chatbots and take it phase by phase, start with just FAQs and slowly expand to transactions and customer services. However, we need to start sooner rather than later so that machine learning models can learn. Like in every other matter, we cannot expect perfection in chatbots right on day one itself – it takes time to improvise and improve towards perfection. Most importantly, do not be afraid to start such initiatives.”
Jacob’s advice for companies looking to digitally transform is to understand and prioritise the segments of business that would benefit the most from it and work towards upgrading those first.
“You will need to find out the base digital literacy level of your workforce and upskill them accordingly.
“When integrating digital technologies into your core business operations, it’s best to do it at a pace your staff is comfortable with. Communication is key – your digital transformation plan has to be easily understood and your workforce aligned with your strategies.
“Always measure and manage the impact of changes being brought by digital transformation to help minimise any adverse business impacts that may arise,” he adds.
He shares his thoughts on what 2022 holds, noting, “The biggest change we can expect is still directly a result of the pandemic, as more businesses will be committing to digital transformation to maintain business continuity.
“I believe more organisations will be investing into adopting and incorporating technologies such as AI and machine learning to augment their big data analytics capabilities.
“With the breakthroughs in machine learning and natural language processing, we will also see more intelligent chatbots that can converse in a more human-like fashion.”