The frog in the water of digital (Radio column)

This article is complementary to our column on the Québec Réveille radio show on CKIA hosted by Marjorie Champagne.

The arrival of winter always marks a turning point in the general mood of the Quebec community: the cold, grey skies and first snows sometimes make it a little depressing. However, the arrival of winter also heralds the arrival of Christmas! This year's holiday shopping will most certainly be online for most of us. Canada Post and other delivery services are already asking people to order online in advance. However, many businesses have not anticipated this massive arrival of customers for the holiday season and find themselves with products whose quantities are quickly sold out.

The question that comes up most often among digital professionals is why are so many companies postponing or avoiding the digital transition? Is it out of fear of the unknown? Is it out of conviction? Or is it simply a lack of desire? Despite the current crisis, many business leaders are reluctant to develop a web presence. It's an illusion to believe in the massive return of customers in stores. Even after the pandemic, people will have developed an ease to store online that will last for a long time to come, even illectronics have learned to use digital devices, soon there won't be many people left in physical stores. The notion of "having to touch the product" before buying it is disappearing, all that online ordering, from clothing to the wood stove, all the products that didn't seem to be able to be sold online are now on the web. Years of status quo

The pandemic has caused a weakening of the general economy, many businesses are now too weak to begin a digital transformation, but for those who still can, e-commerce has been in place for almost 30 years and it is here to stay, it is your duty to position yourself online so that you can sustain your business over the long term. Many more businesses should have started their digital transitions to take advantage of the snowball effect that confinement has had on e-commerce, but too few have done so.

To be successful on the web, it is not enough to have a platform on which to sell our products, many companies are no longer content to simply display themselves online to be sustainable, to be successful you need a good logistics system for delivery, to have enough stock to serve the people ordering online, it is a complex balance between organization and productivity.

Online grocery shopping: a great success

Handbags, shoes, phones or Bluetooth headsets are all fine, but they're not vital. However, these kinds of products are selling a lot online. What about essential products like fruits and vegetables?

Most grocers in Quebec did not have an online shopping system. Those who took orders online did not have the infrastructure to support a large customer load.

The transformation was painful at first, but customers followed. It was even demanded. There is still room for improvement, but the system works well enough for many.

To be successful, it's not just about display and delivery.

You have to optimize operations to reduce costs, improve timelines and overall performance of the entire process.

It is also necessary to reduce internal or external friction. What we mean is to quickly identify problems internally to improve the functioning of the system. You also need to identify external issues, such as the purchase path or computer bugs, to ensure that conversion is maximized. A better user experience also helps avoid returns because the customer made an order error.

We also need to diversify and innovate. The digital market is much larger and changing much faster than the average physical market. New potential customers are within reach. You have to look for new customers who were previously less accessible in order to diversify your revenues.

The important thing is not to be afraid of digital. The will to change must not come from the consumer alone. It must be accompanied by the willingness of managers and strong leaders. There is no miracle, the digital transition is difficult. We need to take the time to do it right, test, observe, stay open, learn, keep building, and stay up in the storm.

❤️ For a Better World for People

Laure Gabrielle

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