Crisis Is Speeding Up Digital Disruption & Boosting eCommerce

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The lockdown crisis is driving more of us online, boosting ecommerce and making us go virtual. So, it’s inevitable that more industries will be digitally disrupted during this tsunami of change. What will the ‘new normal’ look like in your sector?

‘Digital disruption’ can be defined as the transformation caused by adopting digital technologies and new business models.

Do you know what’s happening in your sector? Perhaps you’ve moved quickly and already invested in ecommerce, or adapted your own business model in other ways to embrace this new reality or are planning to?

Drawing flow diagrams of your business processes or value chain, can be a good way to work out your options.

What are your customers’ problems? How can you improve your sector’s value chain?

You can start with small steps.

For example, one of Real Marketing’s clients, a central heating specialist, has been improving a new boiler quote programme on their website which provides estimates in less than a minute. The online quote system automatically generates new prospects and should help the company fill up its post-lockdown order book, helping it get back in business faster than some of its competitors.

For my own marketing consultancy, Zoom video calls have replaced face-to-face client meetings. Luckily, it was easy to redesign and adapt my consultancy processes so that they work digitally and remotely from end-to-end. As one of my clients on the free Expert Help Marketing Consultancy programme for East Lothian small businesses (SMEs) said:

“The Zoom meetings worked very well indeed. Initially, I was quite sceptical of the idea but it was probably as effective as any face-to-face meeting could have been!” (Phil O’Brien, Forth Blinds)

The crisis is speeding up digital transformation. Can you transform and adapt your own business to make it more digital, automatic, online and virtual to help you survive or to give you a long term competitive advantage?

How will the move to remote working disrupt the telecoms, commercial property, retail, transport and travel industries, and other sectors?

eCommerce is Booming

Yes, delivery is slower and some supply chains have been interrupted, but the data confirms that ecommerce is booming during lockdown, as McKinsey reports:

  • Ecommerce in Italy during mid-April has increased 81 percent compared to the last week of February.
  • US consumers have increased online spending by about 80%.
  • In China online shopping has increased 15 to 20%.

“With offline shopping collapsing, companies’ strategies will need to focus on fortifying their web presence and, in some cases, building an online business.” (McKinsey)

Even before the unprecedented global lockdown, ecommerce and productivity gains in retail were expected to reduce the number of retail shops by as much as 15%. How much higher will that percentage go by 2021?

As one local client, Svetlana, who owns the enticing Cheese Lady shop on Haddington’s High Street, said:

“We have had to completely rethink our trading model – we went from a physical store with some online presence to a purely online store.

“There were many challenges when we had to completely change the way we used to operate. From staff and stock shortages to an unexpected waste increase. It is also hard to deliver exactly the same service as we used to in the physical store because we have a reputation for recommending and sampling our fine cheeses in our shop. Online you cannot do that, so it all hinges on our existing good reputation, customer product knowledge and our good product descriptions and photography.”

Does Svetlana think more shops should be looking at ecommerce to complement their traditional shops?

“Without a shadow of a doubt – yes. It is not easy (or cheap) but it is worth it. Our online shop has grown many-fold. The online ordering is working well but I do see areas for improvement. There are many tasks that can be automated and systemised to speed up the process and allow us to fulfil even more orders.”

Some shops have already moved rapidly to invest in ecommerce. So, if you’ve had to close your shop, restaurant or café, or had to stop delivering your service, now could be the right time to consider starting to sell online. And, adding eCommerce to your website needn’t be expensive and can be achieved in less than 2 weeks for some small businesses. See more on my fast, inexpensive eCommerce solutions.

What is ‘Digital Disruption’ and Who are the Disruptors?


Creativity and Innovation Love Crises

Disruption is to existing businesses and business models what Indy’s Smith & Wesson was to the sword.

Digital disruption meant that EMI, the hundred-year-old company that invented electric recording and signed the Beatles and thousands of other musicians, simply ceased to exist.

Today’s examples of disruptive technologies include e-commerce, ride-sharing apps, GPS systems, cloud computing, the Internet of Things, big data, and artificial intelligence ( Disruptive technologies replace established systems and habits when customers see them as superior.

The main areas of digital transformation are: business processes, business models, relationships with customers and culture.

A lot of digital disruption comes from new internet-based business models that are shaking up established industry structures.

We can probably all quote examples: Walmart is being disrupted by Alibaba; Gillette is being disrupted by Dollar Shave; the taxi industry by Uber; hotel chains by Airbnb; and, today, incumbent telecoms giants are being disrupted by video call providers like Zoom.

Companies such as Amazon, Google, and Facebook are just some of the huge number of companies that have focused on the Internet as a disruptive technology.

“In the logistics industry, the use of sensors, big data, and analytics has enabled companies to improve the efficiency of their supply-chain operations.” (McKinsey)

Disruption can come from learning to reuse, repurpose, and recycle the R & D of others to create new products in new categories never imagined by the original creators.

What are the benefits of disruption? 83% of executives who see their organizations as market disruptors report increased revenue over the past three years, compared with 54% of those in non-disruptive or partially disruptive enterprises. (Forbes Insights 2018)

Advances in 3-D printing that create products just-in-time are said to threaten 320 million manufacturing jobs around the globe.

Self-driving cars, trucks, and drones are forecast to displace tens of millions more workers.

Renewable energy, such as solar photovoltaic cells, which have decreased in cost by more than 85 percent since the year 2000, will transform economies which are currently run on oil and gas.

According to a McKinsey Global Institute study, the automation of knowledge work will have a $5 trillion to $7 trillion impact on white-collar jobs.

The ‘Digital Vortex’ is the inevitable movement of industries toward a new ‘digital centre’ in which new business models, propositions, and value chains are digitized as much as possible.

Three key areas of digital transformation in businesses are: customer experience, operational processes, and business models. (

But, the most common disruptions are driven by customers. They decide whether to adopt or reject new technologies or new products. (HBR 2019)

However, there are some challenges when introducing digital transformation at many businesses:

  • Employee resistance.
  • Lack of expertise to lead digitization projects.
  • Existing company structures.
  • Lack of overall digitization strategy.
  • Limited budgets.

Start by Understanding Your Customers’ Problems

To digitize your business, you need to understand your customers’ problems:

  • What are their pain points?
  • What problems can we solve much more effectively for our customers?
  • How can we leverage digital technologies to achieve this?

For the full white paper ‘Crisis Is Speeding Up Digital Disruption & Boosting eCommerce’, just complete the form below.

And, if you want to discuss your business model and digital options, you can contact me, Christopher Lamotte at Real Marketing, or request a free Video Chat over a virtual coffee!

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