Dan Hill, Head of Dot London, caught up with Talk Business magazine to look at why it’s important for businesses to go digital.
We are living in a digitally-driven world where we heavily rely on tablets and smartphones to communicate, browse and purchase things. In order to succeed and keep pace with customers, it is important that businesses undergo some form of digital transformation.
Digital transformation itself isn’t a scary, complicated or costly move. It allows you to adapt your processes and internal models so that you can use digital technologies to help achieve your overall strategy. Before making the move to digital, or looking at how best to improve your existing digital capabilities, it’s useful to think about how you want to interact with customers, how you want your employees do their jobs, and how it can help create new and innovative opportunities for your business.
Reaching out to customers
Bluntly put, if you’re not on Google you don’t exist. If someone searches for your business online and can’t find it, they will probably look elsewhere and opt for one of your competitors. If you’re not online or easy to find, you will be losing out on a lot of opportunities.
Help customers find you by being online, using a mix of content marketing and social media. Blogging is a nice option if you are a businesses offering a service rather than a product as it gives you fresh and relevant online content for people to engage with.
A good example of a company doing this is Anthology, a London-based residential property development company. They believe heavily in working with local communities where they are developing their properties, including sponsoring local events, partnering with relevant councils and using a Dot London domain name to capitalise on their connection with the city. Their blog reflects this ethos by including advice pieces, such as how to find your ideal home or the best places to eat locally, as well as regular vlogs to keep people up-to-date about their new developments. It’s simple, engaging and builds a good connection with their local communities.
Opportunities to grow
Going digital can lead to gaining new types of customers, stronger engagement and the courage to explore and experiment with new ideas while learning what customers want. Using basic website analytics you can track the progress and success of initiatives by seeing how many clicks, views or responses your products or campaigns get. This can help you in an easy and cost effective way, allowing you to see what is working and what isn’t and change your plans accordingly.
Results from analytics can help you to keep up with the appetites of the modern consumer, which is particularly useful if you are trying something that is slightly different to your overall strategy. Providence Row, a 150 year-old local charity based just off Brick Lane, has been able to do that with their business venture, Rise Bakery.
Providence Row works to help the homeless in their area by teaching them new skills, such as baking. Rise Bakery was created to sell top-quality chocolate brownies made in their kitchen to local businesses as gifts, with all of the profits going back into Providence Row. Their main customer focus is London-based businesses, so equipped with a Dot London domain name, the bakery has taken on a slick, appealing and professional identity that is best suited to both their customers and the quality of their produce. Being online with Rise Bakery has helped Providence Row to adapt and reach a new audience thereby bringing some additional value to the organisation.
What the future holds
The Internet of Things, Big Data, mobile computing, machine learning and wearable tech (to name but a few) have created a new era of customer interaction. There are now more opportunities to engage with them, so in return they are wanting services that are specifically tailored to their needs. They don’t just want to buy products, they also want recommendations about what to buy next and track when it arrives. This means that you need to use the data that you have about your customers to create a seamless experience, bringing information to them rather than them searching for it. With the shift to Internet of Things enabled devices there will be a high expectation from customers, but it will also give you more opportunities to engage with them more.
Digital transformations can be a challenge. It might impact strategic decisions, supply chains and your company’s infrastructure, but also think about how it can drive you to unlock your potential and get a competitive advantage by delivering a stronger customer-led service. Digital is driving business successes and you need to be part of it.