Mitigate Coronavirus (COVID-19) Business Impacts With Digital Commerce

Updated:2020/5/19 11:08

Sandy Shen, Gartner Sr Director Analyst

Jason Daigler, Gartner VP Analyst

By 2021, organizations with robust, scalable digital commerce will outperform noncommerce organizations by 30 percentage points in sales growth by better using digital channels during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The COVID-19 outbreak can negatively impact business performance in the short term as of?ine activities are canceled and online orders overwhelm delivery capacities. In the longer term businesses need to reprioritize digital investment to shift into digital channels and develop digital products to increase business resilience. Application leaders can mitigate the impact and ensure smooth transition from digital commerce to digital business.

Organizations with no digital presence took the biggest hit during COVID-19 and are hurried to setting up digital commerce and investing into digital technologies so they can recover sales and serve customers from the digital channel.

Some products and purchase processes, such as property brokering or complex B2B selling, rely heavily on of?ine channels and involve complex sales process can be dif?cult to migrate to digital channels in totality in a short period of time. They can use customer journey mapping to identify business processes that can be digitized first. Examples including product demo using video conference/AR/VR and product configuration using CPQ applications.

In the long term, organizations should develop digital product extensions and the ability to quickly switch between channels to increase resilience to future disruption .They need to develop products that carry higher margins such as services, digital content and experience products, and which can be scaled up more easily over digital channels. This will better position them as they move from digital commerce into digital business.

Application leaders supporting digital commerce technologies should:

·   Work with key business leaders to prepare service reps for customer inquiries and deploy chatbots to automate answering of the most common inquiries.

·   Use existing holiday preparedness checklists to ensure scalability and reset customer expectations for stock availability, shipping and delivery timeframes.

·   Use customer journey maps to prioritize steps that can be digitized. Deploy digital technologies such as augmented reality (AR)/virtual reality (VR), video streaming and conferencing to engage customers and support sales.

·   Develop digital product extensions such as digital services and solutions that are suited for selling and delivering online, as well as the ability to quickly switch between channels to increase business resilience.

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