The CEO, CTO, or Covid19? That’s an interesting question to ask. Whatever one chooses it is a correct answer but still. Who do you really think was responsible for the Digital Transformation?
Customer! The whole universe of business revolves around the customer hence, it is the customer who is the reason behind this transformation.
Who would have thought about reading an ePapers in early 2000s? The Times Group was one of the first to introduce them in India. To me it was a blessing, in a single-window, I could check different publications, editions and the best part is checking Archives. Today they are getting circulated through WhatsApp. HDFC Bank collaborated with Indian Express and started mailing their customers early in the morning.
Movies and Serials (series as they call it) on a personal screen, not so common. Netflix was known to a limited audience before its launch in India. Post their launch too there was a limited set who subscribed as it was more global than local. Today we have Hindi movie releases lined up on Netflix as the multiplexes are shut. Angrezi Medium, the last work of Late Irfan Khan got released on Disney+ Hotstar during early lockdown days.
So what has led to this sudden change of habits in customers? Why there is a huge surge in subscriptions of OTT Apps? Has all the marketing $$$ finally started paying off?
COVID 19 and the lockdown has forced both the Customers and Brands to evolve and how.
Philip Kotler, a father of Modern Marketing, considers five steps in the consumer adoption process, such as awareness, interest, evaluation, trial, and adoption. And we are all aware of the stages of the Technology Adoption Curve – the Bell Curve starting from innovators and ending with Laggards. Historically all Brands have been applying these principles.
Lockdown created panic and scarcity of essentials. There were huge queues at Grocery stores, Hyper Marts, etcetera. Some managed with basics from the next door shops but they were running out of stocks as they have limited warehousing capacity. The consumer was forced to quickly adapt and move to online shopping. Those who had existing loyalties to specific apps started trying other apps as stocks were dwindling and delivery slots were limited due to movement restrictions.
All this happened much against the standard Bell Curve of Technology Adaption. Customers moved much faster to be an Innovator to Early Majority.
So was it just the customers who had to adopt the change, what about the Brands/Sellers? Sellers of essential goods, like the local grocery store & fruit/vegetable vendors. They surely cannot afford to bring in digital transformation on their own for obvious reasons. Their customers had moved up the ladder in the need of the hour, so how does one bridge the gap? How could they reach more customers to increase sales? This is where the Delivery Platforms like Swiggy and Zomato come to play. They have a ready platform that connects restaurants and customers. Food delivery was on slow down for obvious reasons and they had the Essentials Licence with them. They smartly integrated Grocery and other essentials on their apps thereby creating a win-win situation many folds. This benefitted the Delivery Apps business, Customers and enabled digital transformation for local stores.
While some brands are the innovator and they bring about the change. Pandemics like the current one forces one to change to survive. Customer is the reason for every brands existence. Brands have to continuously evolve to anticipate their customer's need and the best possible way to serve them.
Digital Transformation may sound like a big project, which it could be, depending on the size and nature of your business. However, there are avenues available to test waters in the form of Market Places, Aggregators, Digital Marketing and Transformation Agencies which offer solutions to fit all needs. Bon Voyage!
Authors: Deepak Bhutani
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