There are concepts that are used and abused to a point where the mind stops seeing them. Like those ads that you ignore on the side of any website.
One such concept is “digital transformation”.
It’s not that it’s not important.
It’s just that it sounds so abstract that it doesn’t do anything for us.
I’ll tell you how you can bring it down to earth for your specific business.
Today I saw a website that helps to “Digitalize your community”.
To be honest, I find it hard to understand what it means to digitalize a community.
To begin with, what is my community? The people who live in my city? My neighbourhood? The neighbours in my building? The WhatsApp group of parents at my children’s school?
A community is a very broad concept.
After reading for a while and seeing that it talks about neighbours and administrators, I come to the conclusion that it refers to a community of owners.
It is the only option that can combine neighbours and administrators in the same sentence.
OK, that’s it. One thing solved.
Now, what is digitalizing?
And no, I’m not going to do the finger-counting joke.
You have to dive deep into the website to understand that it is something like “connect with the neighbours”, “communicate with the administrators”, “see what’s going on interactively”.
At this point, I am already worried that my neighbours and administrators can communicate with me whenever they want and, even worse, see what is going on in my house.
I guess that’s not the point.
Finally, at the bottom of the page, there is a section entitled “If you are an advertiser”.
It’s for advertising on my staircase.
I assume the property manager will take a commission on whatever is sold.
I understand. I’m not interested in having my community digitalized.
The email is enough for me. WhatsApp is enough for me.
But it is clear that digitalization is the clear trend nowadays.
We have been experiencing digital transformation in all sectors for many years. That surprises no one.
And I think that “digital transformation” is a concept as unclear and misused as “digitalize your community”.
But what is clear is that the physical standstill caused by the pandemic has put the pedal to the metal in the need to create digital solutions.
In light of this, when customers can’t go and get the products, it’s time to look for alternatives. And digital (which, of course, also has its problems) but, at least, has not been affected by the confinement.
So, as a supplier, it is important to think of a product catalogue that is resistant to these crises.
Moreover, what can be done digitally helps another issue of great concern today: that of sustainability.
Digital consumes far fewer resources than anything that has to be physically produced and transported.
Although, of course, not everything can be done digitally.
But with a little imagination, there are more and more possibilities to offer digital services to replace physical products.
Proof of this trend is that since 2020, global GDP growth has been highly volatile. However, the digital economy has experienced steady growth on a global scale: more than 15% in 2021.
Another interesting fact to confirm the trend: According to IDC, more than 500 million digital applications and services will be developed in the cloud by 2024. That’s more than all the applications developed in the last 40 years.
So, if you haven’t already done so, set aside some time to think about which of the products and services you currently offer you can digitalize.
It doesn’t matter if you are an agency, a real estate agency, a wedding planner or whatever. Even if the product itself is absolutely face-to-face, there are many parts of the service and information you handle that can be given to clients online.
And we are not just talking about having a website with your product catalogue so that they can buy it from you.
It’s about offering new possibilities and new experiences online that were previously unthinkable.
If you are a real estate agency, can you consider virtual visits? Do you know the time savings that this can mean for the client? Even if the salesperson is physically at the property and answering the client’s questions, can this mean that clients who live thousands of kilometres away can make a decision remotely or, at least, discard what they are not really interested in?
If you organize weddings you can provide services to help select gifts, to see the details of the wedding menu, the organization of the tables, to be able to see the photos practically as the day proceeds… whatever. Additional services that can make the day more memorable.
If you are an agency, you don’t even need to consider what it means to move to a paperless world.
And, in any case, I’m sure that you as a specialist in your sector will have many more ideas on how to deal with this change, this new opportunity.