The digitalization of small and medium businesses (SMBs) could add US$ 158 to 216 billion to India's GDP by 2024 and contribute to the country's economic recovery post COVID-19, according to the Cisco India SMB Digital Maturity Study 2020.
The study highlights that 68% of Indian SMBs seek to digitally transform to introduce new products and services, differentiate themselves from the competition, and grow, while 60% recognize that competition is transforming and they must keep pace, and 50% seek digital transformation due to customer demand for change.
Digitalization is no longer an option for SMBs – it's a matter of survival post COVID-19.
Digitization and Digitalization have made small businesses across India realize how smoothly they can reach customers anywhere in the country. The IAMAI-Kantar ICUBE 2020 report states that India could have 900 million active internet users by 2025, an increase of 45 per cent from 622 million in 2020. With rapid advances in technology, today SMBs need to embed digital into their business to make the most out of this revolution. With only 38% of them believing that they are digitally capable, digital transformation has been slow amongst SMBs.
The pandemic and industry 4.0 have necessitated a rapid shift towards hybrid working, virtual operations, and automated processes. To ensure long-term resilience and unlock tremendous growth potential, it is no longer enough for SMBs to solely rely on their core values and traditional management methods.
The findings of the 10th Global Family Business Survey by PwC show that 71% of SMBs with strong digital capabilities were able to change the course of their organizations on short notice and adapt to new developments. Digital transformation and diversification have ranked at the top of organizational priorities, according to a survey of businesses conducted in 2019. The data underscores the importance of digitalization for SMBs.
The modern consumer experience is rapidly evolving from one that was built upon the transactional process of shopping to one that's rooted in deep, ongoing, and enriching relationships.
Previously, all that was required of e-commerce companies was an online shopping experience that allowed consumers to browse and purchase with ease, with some acknowledgment of their previous purchases and potential interests. Today, consumers expect a relationship-based experience that's built upon their unique individual journey with your brand.
Thus, to succeed in today's e-commerce landscape, organizations must consider one essential question: What experiences should I be offering to my customers?
As per a recent survey by Walkerinfo.com, 86% of buyers are willing to pay more for a better customer experience. Customer experience goes further than marketing strategies and touchpoints. As your prospects find multiple channels to reach you, optimizing their interaction cycles to develop a favorable business outcome is all that shall matter in the coming times. Leaders must go beyond organizational goals, pushing a customer-obsessed agenda.
Sadly, most businesses are stuck at creating computational designs that lead the prospects through a maze of inconsistent feeds. Whereas, a great customer experience strategy should outright display the brand differentiators – improving confidence, loyalty, and satisfaction.
Going forward, e-commerce brands are in an excellent position to leverage the momentum created by the pandemic for a more digital shopping environment. By delivering more immersive and impressive customer experiences, e-commerce companies can ensure consumers continue to do more of their shopping online. However, to achieve the right results, organizations will need to focus on a number of important concepts, such as:
• Customer journey mapping: To drive better experiences for customers in today's e-commerce landscape, companies need to generate a strong understanding of the buyer journey. This journey takes place across a multitude of different environments, from social media and e-mail to the website chat widget. Making sure you can track analytics and insights from every touchpoint will allow you to deliver better service.
Security and compliance: In an environment where consumers are becoming increasingly concerned about online scams and criminals, it's important to ensure excellent levels of security throughout your e-commerce environment. Implementing the highest standards for securing and managing consumer data will be essential to stay ahead of the competition.
In fact, CX is the result of every interaction and touchpoint a customer has with your business.
Last but not the least, the backbone of the e-commerce lies with efficient deployment of COM (Commerce Operations Management). COM is especially vital for multichannel sellers across Retail, D2C E-comm, Marketplaces, etc.
While traditional sellers will work from multiple seller accounts and interfaces, a seller with a COM strategy will integrate their various sales channels, apps, and tasks into a custom workspace that offers a single login for managing all aspects of business. With a single login, you can easily push and retrieve data from various platforms.
For example, when you're putting a new product up for sale, you can create one listing to publish to multiple channels in a few simple clicks. Similarly, as you make sales on any channel, your inventory and available quantities will be updated automatically.
A true COM system goes far beyond these capabilities. But in essence, it's recommended building a custom ecosystem of sales channels and apps that can talk to each other in near real-time.
Finally, Compliance integration across the process will need to be given precedence. Following compliance integration needs to be kept in mind – to be in sync with development planning:
• Banking & Payment gateway regulations; Taxation laws
• Cyber laws due diligence in India; Competition Laws of India.
• Maintenance, privacy protection, data security, cyber security, confidentiality etc., and compliance with laws related to data protection.
• Implications under the Information Technology Act.
• Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019 (“PDP Bill”) covering elements such as:
Also, if your business will be offering any goods or services in the EU, processing any personal data transferred from the EU, or profiling the personal data of the EU residents, you will have to comply with GDPR and its data protection compliances.
Summary: While organizations are mostly focused on building & strengthening the technology platform for e-commerce, it is important for them to plan the digitalization of their business holistically. Having concrete plans for Customer Experience enhancement, COM, and taking care necessary compliances will ensure a successful business transformation.