This blog will introduce you to the eCommerce journey stages with unique insight from Kingston and Digital Mavens on how to succeed. It is the second in its series. Read the first post here.
For many businesses, the transformation toward digitization and eCommerce capabilities is a difficult one. Essentially because, it’s a new way of doing business and one which operates differently to most traditional models.
At the Digital Mavens, we’ve been helping businesses to digitize since 2008. We’ve helped tech unicorns, to large multi-nationals, to local businesses, to small start-ups. Along the way we’ve learnt from their successes and mistakes.
The one main learning is that the move to digital commerce is a journey. You have to start from the beginning. You cannot just arrive at the end. Along the way you will get better and get faster, but you have to build up your skills and capabilities.
We have developed a 4-stage journey model to help businesses better understand what they have to do and what to expect. The 4 eCommerce journey stages are:
Crawl (or to learn the basics):
When starting out, many businesses are like infants with digital. They don’t have the ability to comprehend the world around them or how to get things done. They need to test and learn and see what works for their business and industry.
3 core things businesses need to focus on at this stage are:
- The basics
- Delivering an outcome
- Repetition & consistency
Much of the activities in this stage are all about these 3 things. Eg: for a business trying to sell online, the focus should be what are the most basic things you need to do to sell your products/services online?
This in itself is can be a complicated question to answer. The trick is to keep it simple. Don’t over-think it or get ahead of yourself. The goal should be to sell one product online to a customer in the most minimum-viable-way.
Did the process work? Where were your gaps or issues? Did the product get to the customer? Did you make money? Can you do it again?
As you repeat, you begin to learn and you start to change your processes. You know what resources you need now and where you need to improve in the future. Speed is not an issue at this stage. Volume of sales should not be an issue either. Learning about your capabilities and requirements to get better should be is the goal.
Can you actually sell products online? Does your customer want to buy from you online? Do they want to buy from you online in the way you offered it to them or do they want it a different way? How are you finding your customers?
Walk (or to focus on internal improvement):
At this stage of the journey, many businesses are getting better at the whole process. They are repeating and ironing out their issues. However, it’s also a confusing time. They are selling things. They are throwing money and resources and investment at eCommerce.
They are starting to grow; in a clunky manual kind of way. The view from management is often: how can we invest more so we can grow faster? How can we get better results?
The challenge is to overcome internal issues. To sell more and to go faster, the business has to now change their internal make-up. They can no longer rely on using their existing systems, resources, people or processes. They need new ones, if they want to improve.
The need becomes to separate themselves from the traditional ways of doing things. If they want to grow, they need to be a digital business or department. Often they need to:
- Move from large volume pallet or container sales to 1 or a few customers to then delivering smaller unit sales but many times to a larger volume of customers,
- Change their warehousing and supply chain processes to meet this change,
- Change the way they read their data and how often they make decisions; and the levels within the business who can make real decisions,
- Change their marketing teams to focus on customer acquisition, lead generation, conversion and customer retention,
- Move faster than previously and keep improving.
If businesses don’t overcome these issues before attempting to get to the Run stage, then they often bleed money, churn teams and break down when they try to scale and go faster, larger and wider.
We want to learn more about your challenges around digital selling. Let’s chat. Book some time with one of our eCommerce subject matter experts.