The catastrophic pandemic COVID 19 has brought SME business operations to a standstill. From social distancing to sealed borders, businesses are suffering hardships in the form of loss of people, daily cashflows, managing purchases, employing dead stock, and procurement with the added payment delays. The current scenario of the global lockdown will decline customer retention as more and more consumers switch to digital options available.
Going digital is now a fundamental requisite rather than an alternative in the New Normal. It is now that SMEs should overcome fear of change due to digital transformation and reap the benefits of using digital commerce for enhancing customer experience and optimizing business processes.
Amidst foreign and national competitors, the key for long term sustainment for a company is to outperform customer expectations in terms of customer experience. By going digital, organizations have been able to enhance the consumer experience by suggesting the right products, at the right time, for the right usage using digital marketing strategies. The omnichannel presence eases the accessibility of products by providing a seamless experience and opens doors for potential customers across geographical borders.
Digital transformation will help provide personalized buying experiences to users across generations and geographies and help generate purchase orders for dead stock in warehouses. Real-time digital payment options will provide a relief to the seller and the consumers as the user can pay as and when possible within seconds for the order made.
With the world being more connected and customers being catered across borders, the business process needs to be transformed. It can be as simple as moving from maintaining traditional records to adopting a new CRM software which help streamline the complete sales cycle.
Different operational processes that can be optimized are:
- Tracking sales order to on time shipments
- Improving supply chain to on time delivery
- Realising payments to maintaining accounts can be managed well using digital technologies like
- AI/ML for order prediction and shipment tracking
- RPA to automate repetitive tasks may be as simple as payroll
- Facilitation of easy exchange and return using real time location tracking etc.
Optimizing many such processes will help the SME to focus only on their core business and get rid of unwanted bottlenecks. ERP system could help track and maintain products, sales and marketing, finance accounting, inventory management, etc, thus helping improve business process management. This can lead to an optimized process, while maintaining and utilising information available for new business opportunities etc. It will help different systems and people working in silos to have integrated information and take informed decisions.
Seeing the changing dynamics due to technology or due to pandemic situation, this is an opportune time for SMEs to take a progressive step towards digitalization. To sustain in this new world of social distancing and contactless experiences, going digital does not seem like an alternative but in fact a fundamental requisite for organizations worldwide.