Now, COVID-19 has dragged the truth of the statement into the light and we can see just how frail physical commerce is. Online sales as a proportion of all retailing reached a record high of 22.3% in March 2020 and remain 50.4% higher than February’s pre-coronavirus levels (as of July). Your customers still expect that same experience and brand offering they got in your stores, except it’s now from their sofas.
If you were to ask us for one shining beacon of digital agility, we would point you towards sofa.com. They set a fantastic example of what a little decisive action and being customer-focused can do. Sofa.com, like many retailers, were faced with a sink or swim situation as the initial UK wide lockdown was imposed. They recognised that customers’ homes needed to be a bastion of comfort. Seeing an opportunity, they sought our help, and within weeks they started offering a new range of plush garden furniture.
So how did that stack up?
Online traffic on sofa.com has increased by almost 150% since the start of lockdown, according to SEMRush. Acting fast to meet customer needs – coupled with a feature-rich and responsive e-commerce platform – proved a worthwhile course of action.
Investing marginally into digital is no longer enough. Experimenting had its place, but the luxury of time has been taken away. Get left behind, and you’ll drop off the radar. In order to compete digitally, active scale-up is a must. And you need to be in it to win it. We know that a high-cadence digital program that is tested remains under pressure and constantly evolves is the best way to face up to the unpredictability and challenges ahead.
Clearly, there's no need to start a brand new (digital) business.
Changing fundamental elements and focusing on an agile business model is the way to adapt to the rapidly shifting topography. Diverge from the legacy ways of working – set teams to work on objectives focused on outcomes and a culture that fosters agility.
It’s no longer about scrum masters – it’s about quick, adaptive change and being alive to opportunity.
We recognise that now is a new opportunity for brands to accelerate their digital transformation. Fewer distractions (meetings, travel) means a chance to apply a new rhythm to your company. Not trudging towards digital, accelerating it.