It is no secret that many brick-and-mortar stores have closed their doors for the time being while customers seek to minimize risk by staying at home. As times gradually become increasingly volatile and uncertain, some recent changes have become more permanent.
One of those changes is the major shift to online shopping.
The act of buying and selling products over the internet took a drastic turn during the Covid-19 pandemic. Hence, business owners and consumers had no choice but to embrace electronic commerce. The shift is here to stay, presenting new opportunities for business owners to thrive in online platforms despite the unfortunate circumstances.
As the crisis continues to disrupt industries and businesses worldwide, the broader consumer base finds itself operating in unchartered territory. Amid the widespread health concerns, local movement limitations, and travel restrictions, the e-commerce industry faces the most significant and fastest growth. The pandemic has shown us that a business cannot wait for the transformation it knows it needs.
Despite the pandemic, we are experiencing an ongoing digital revolution that drives the digital economy. Companies are rapidly gaining economic might. According to McKinsey, the digital ecosystem can generate an estimated 30% of global corporate revenue by 2025. We are already seeing a growing number of businesses that are investing in technologies, from demand forecast, customer support, and supply chain to back-office transformation and business intelligence. However, they must plan a comprehensive digital transformation strategy that will contribute to the long-term vision of the organization’s technological needs.
Digital ecosystems bring companies together by offering access to a similar set of content, datasets, applications, analytics, and other tools. In short, digital ecosystems can provide every company with the proper tools it requires to flourish, regardless of vertical or size. However, their unique characteristics can enable them to tackle challenges beyond internal issues. For instance, digital ecosystems can prove to be successful in slowing the rate of climate change.
Adding to that, digital ecosystems are uniquely positioned to help initiate a sense of empowerment through shared knowledge, shared goals, and other means. They possess the means to offer strategic frameworks that help identify priority areas of action, initiate sustainability, and connect companies with the partners and technology providers in building proper solutions.
To adapt to the new reality, companies will need to develop digitization capabilities to ensure positive customer experience. With the continuous development of e-commerce, customers’ shopping habits are also changing and evolving. Businesses in this sector that want to be successful in the long run must implement the proper strategies to keep up with the changing consumer needs. Engaging in digital ecosystems will need a new set of managerial and technical skills. From managing digital advertising, avoiding out-of-stocks to delivery delays, learning to manage the back end of a digital operation, it is vital that businesses learn to cope up with unpredictable conditions. This way, sustainability is mutually created both to the consumer, the platform owner, and the ecosystem participants. All the companies in the digital ecosystem are benefitted from interacting and thus are incentivized to keep participating. Besides, digital ecosystems will allow businesses to share and monetize the data gathered from several sources to greater customers and societal outcomes, like sustainability. They can also open up new market systems, business models, and areas of growth that did not exist before.
There is no doubt that setting up a healthy and robust digital ecosystem not only helps the company’s bottom line but also provides customers with a better shopping experience. The digital ecosystem enables companies to interact with customers, adjacent industries, and even the competitions to work towards commercial gain, innovation, and eventually improving performance. The idea is not just to build a digital business but a more connected and more efficient digital society.
We have seen that as soon as the government enforced physical distancing and home quarantine, companies that were already using digital means of running operations or quickly adopted solutions like remote work tools stayed productive amid the pandemic. For example, Daraz was already using the means of technology to run their business. The pandemic had no adverse effect on the company; instead, they were able to play a crucial role in establishing a direct-to-customer ecosystem. As a result, they continue to increase their bottom line and contribute significantly to Bangladesh’s digital ecosystem while creating an excellent customer shopping experience.
Today, companies will inevitably keep the option of online selling; however, what distinguishes successful businesses is the ability to foresee and exploit the power of digital ecosystems. In the end, it comes down to how well companies tackle the changing situation in support of customers, consistently and continuously, by taking innovative measures to create a sustainable digital ecosystem. The disruptive changes from Covid-19 have caused serious damage to the country’s economy, so it is up to businesses to bring equilibrium by inducing change.
The writer is a contributor to The Independent.