Digital Transformation Isn’t Slowing Down – But Your Brand Should

By Vanessa Cartwright, CEO, Astound North America

Since the dawn of the Internet, digital transformation in commerce has been consistent and rapid. That’s true today more than ever, especially in light of recent breakthroughs in generative AI, AR, and VR, as well as the ever-evolving array of backend tools.

It can be tempting for brands to rush into adopting the newest technologies, but speed isn’t always the most important thing when it comes to digital transformation. Brands have to carefully implement tech solutions in a way that works best for their unique business and enhances the customer experience.

Still, in order for brands to stay on top of the latest shifts in commerce as the industry evolves, they must strike a careful balance between prioritizing research and maintaining agility. Companies that can’t find this middle ground run the risk of falling behind their competitors – or worse, creating new complications and alienating their customer base.

In my time working in the digital commerce space, I’ve found that the following advice best helps brands find the sweet spot between swiftness and purposefulness when it comes to leveraging new tools.

  • Prioritize customer needs and preferences. First and foremost, brands need to deeply understand what their current and prospective customers want, need, and expect regarding tech tools. For instance: Some brands might have a customer base made up of early adopters who want to see the companies they shop with implement those tools. Others might have customers who are hesitant to use something like generative AI in their day-to-day lives. Either way, a brand needs to conduct customer research to identify those differences, get to know their audience, and move forward with new digital solutions accordingly.
  • Leverage tools in ways that are unique to your brand. When new technologies hit the scene, every company scrambles to implement them, creating a ton of white noise. It’s important to carefully consider how a new tool can bring your specific brand to life, enhancing what already works and driving new paths to revenue. For instance, luxury brands might use AI-powered chatbots to recreate the personal, high-touch experience of shopping in-store, while home and garden companies can ease the shopping process by offering AR-powered experiences that allow folks to preview items in their space.

Like any business tool, emerging and evolving digital commerce technologies should be applied strategically, in ways that delight existing customers, attract new ones, and accelerate revenue along with other company goals. Digital transformation isn’t slowing down anytime soon, but with some flexibility and careful consideration, brands can stay ahead of the curve – without being motivated by the fear of missing out.

  • Consider existing pain points and how tech can ease them. Just because a new technology is all the rage doesn’t necessarily mean your brand needs to adopt it to stay relevant. In fact, trying to fit too many tools into your company’s digital strategy can end up creating new problems altogether, complicating processes and using up resources. Instead, brands should first zoom out and evaluate their current goals, what challenges stand in the way, where the opportunities are, and if (and how) the tool can help them get where they want to go.

Astound Commerce

Astound Commerce helps iconic and innovative brands grow revenue by enhancing their online relationships with consumers. As a world-class provider of award-winning digital commerce solutions, we employ more than 1,300 talented doers and makers across four continents. Astound is responsible for more than 3,000 successful digital commerce projects and 400 end-to-end website launches—sites which last year generated nearly US$10 billion in revenue.

AUG 2023