In a world tainted by digital disruption, how does small business counteract the threat of digital discontinuity? Will we see the end of the bricks and mortar store, or does it still represent something fundamentally human and enduring? How do small business leaders strategically position their brands and the customer experience in such a way […]
In a world tainted by digital disruption, how does small business counteract the threat of digital discontinuity? Will we see the end of the bricks and mortar store, or does it still represent something fundamentally human and enduring? How do small business leaders strategically position their brands and the customer experience in such a way as to win the hearts and minds of tomorrow’s customer? These are all questions that are keeping small business owners awake at night.
While digital evangelists will tell you that the future is all digital, we are starting to see evidence for the argument that you shouldn’t throw away the analogue, bricks and mortar baby with the digital bathwater. In Australia, Shoes of Prey has gone ‘old-school’ by opening up a physical retail presence in David Jones. PayPal has opened up analogue window shopping in Singapore’s subways and eBay has launched bricks and mortar pop-up shops in New York and London. With cracks appearing, it seems digital players are turning to the analogue world of physical retail to connect with customers – both locally and globally.
Digital disruption is only disruptive if you’re not adaptive as a leader and strategist. Small businesses need to be on alert and adopt new ways of winning the hearts and minds of tomorrow’s customer. We don’t need to choose to be either pure play digital, or pure play analogue; to be either high tech or high touch, online or offline. There is a third choice – the translational sweetspot between the digital and the analogue world: ‘digilogue’.
Let me share three tips on how your business can go digilogue in your efforts to provide informational value to your customers’ increasingly digital, rational minds, while connecting experientially with their analogue, emotional hearts.
If you believe that you provide good customer service in the analogue world, make sure you also provide outstanding service across digital channels. Are you easy to find on Google? Is the browsing experience on your website pleasant (including on mobile devices)? Do you provide great video content explaining your products and services?
If you believe that you have a competitive advantage in the analogue world, start driving more face-to-face sales conversations via digital channels. Use customer relationship management tools like Salesforce and Hubspot to optimise your in-bound marketing efforts and keep your digital prospect list up-to-date with offers via newsletters on MailChimp.
On the flipside, when your customer decides to engage with you in the analogue world, their customer journey better be world class. Respect the fact that they are investing their time to be with you. What does your showroom look like? How engaging are your sales team? Have you updated your business cards and when did you last send a new customer a handwritten thank-you card?
Customers are increasingly doing their due diligence digitally – comparing prices and weighing rational choices in their minds – before stepping through your analogue (or digital) doors. Make sure you provide value to their digital, rational minds while they are in that mode of the purchase cycle. But equally, make sure that once they do step through your doors, whether digital or analogue, that they have a great emotional experience that builds analogue connection for the long term. Do your utmost to provide analogue, timeless, world-class, classic customer service; but make sure you do it in a digital, best-in-breed, timely fashion as well. Go digilogue!
Anders Sorman-Nilsson is a global futurist, innovation strategist at thinquetank.com, keynote speaker at TEDx and author of the new book Digilogue: How to Win the Digital Minds and Analogue Hearts of Tomorrow’s Customer (digiloguebook.com).