The landscape is changing, and in the age of globalisation, the speed at which things shift around within the digital sphere is moving faster than ever. And it’s up to businesses to learn, catch up, and adapt.
The News Straits Time reports that digital adoption is crucial for increasing productivity in SMEs to grow beyond their means, and the digital tools provided on hand allow a massive spurt in the SMEs economic growth, and according to Facebook Malaysia’s country director, Nicole Tan, 82% of all exporting SMEs in the country state that at least half of their exports are heavily dependent on the usage of these online tools and social media marketing.
As a result of everything moving at such a high velocity, consumer’s consumption behaviours have also changed drastically, who are now attracted to brands that are easy to discover and use within their social spheres be it through high quality content, or brands that share the same values as they do.
Connectivity has become easier for everyone, and everything can be had on anything that can receive a telephone signal. The velocity of which these things is increasing ever so rapidly, and Above-The-Line marketing such as your traditional billboards, radio ads and tv ads just won’t do. If businesses are to stay afloat in the coming years, going digital is pertinent, and it must start now.
Keeping Up With The Times
Of course, shifting into digital from the get go is no easy task, and it may discourage some from ever venturing into it, but let’s put a few things into perspective. The Department of Statistics of Malaysia has reported that in 2019, there are approximately 32.6 million Malaysians. 25 million of them are active users on social media, and 24 million of those are active on their mobiles too.
The average age of the Malaysian population is 30, which translates to a general population who are well versed in technology and an overall much more modern population. From these points, we can also safely extrapolate that they have the buying power, and when a majority of them are in the prime of their career, the hunger to consume and escape the middle income trap is that much more ravenous.
Businesses know this, and have shifted part of their operations to accommodate the tech-savvy. For instance, Tesco and Jaya Grocer now provide online deliveries for their consumers whereas previously companies like Mygroser and Honestbee have been shouldering the work. Watsons now enables consumers to shop for pharmaceuticals even though they have a retail store in almost all major and minor shopping malls in Malaysia.
However, high business efficiency or the ability to meet customers’ demands may not be enough for some to rework and create a whole new business model based on the concept of digital, but there are several reasons as to why they may be worth your while.
Higher Business Competitiveness
As mentioned before, the business landscape is constantly shifting like the waves of an ocean, and companies are starting to realise its importance. In fact, a survey undertaken by IT Pro Portal shows that 70% of organisations have gone down the digital route to gain a competitive edge in the market, while a third of those companies believe that their competitors will have a clear edge on them if they didn’t transform their models.
Improved Customer Satisfaction And Retargeting
Through the tools of social media marketing, it is now easier than ever for businesses to get a detailed look of their customers, their likes and dislikes, and retarget accordingly to predict and anticipate what the potential customer may want and reinforce what the retained customer already likes. Social media marketing tools like Facebook provides business owners with great insight capabilities in order for them to make more calculated and correct decisions to minimise losses and maximise gains.
Opening A New Revenue Channel
Going online means an ability for customers to reach out to you when they physically cannot, potentially opening a new revenue stream to draw upon. A report by Forrester finds that 46% of the interviewed executives believe that more than half of their revenue will come from online instead of offline, and with the conception of more B2B and B2C marketplaces like Alibaba, Lazada, Shoppee, or even Sephora, it incentivises potential customers more to just shop online rather than go down to individual shops to take a look.
To put it into perspective of the importance of having an online presence, Eyeconic, a spectacle shop has included AR spectacle testing in its website for new customers to try without going to an optical shop, or even call them to check whether that particular stock is available or not. Even Ikea, whose model revolves heavily around well decorated showrooms, is trialling an app for customers to try to place furniture in their living rooms through the use of AR so when they already know what they want when they get to the store.
A More Agile Business
By shifting more of the process and operations online, businesses become more agile to react to changes in the market, meaning they’ll be better prepared to absorb hard recessions and adapt to new trends as opposed to being offline. A survey by nuoDB finds that 68% of companies believe agility is a major factor in transitioning to a digital background.
Reduced Operational Costs
In times of fast paced movement, it is necessary to optimise your workflow through automation, hence more mundane things such as payroll, taxes, and so on and so forth need not be the worry of business owners while they focus on more important things. The Hackett Group found that digital transformations allow a business to increase efficiency by as much as 40%.
In conclusion, the benefits of going digital do outweigh the drawbacks. Though it is important to maintain a balance between maximising revenue and not alienating your customer base. Smart Insights report that customers are more willing to purchase from a particular brand when they take the same stance as the customers, in turn increasing trust, and providing priceless word-of-mouth marketing to other potential customers.
That’s where social media agencies can assist businesses altogether to help select the correct tools, establish the proper platforms, and strategise in a way that balances these two factors together in order to reap maximum benefits.