Business owners must school up on tech
An ecommerce integration specialist says Kiwi retail business owners are falling short on educating themselves about technology. In this new digital driven world New Zealand retailers continue to lose money and opportunity because of not only their reluctance to invest in technology but more so by their failure to upskill and learn more about the […]
An ecommerce integration specialist says Kiwi retail business owners are falling short on educating themselves about technology.
In this new digital driven world New Zealand retailers continue to lose money and opportunity because of not only their reluctance to invest in technology but more so by their failure to upskill and learn more about the tech driving their businesses—it’s no longer something that retailers can simply ‘leave to the experts’.
Mark Presnell, managing director of Convergence, says that while Kiwi business owners are often derided for being slow to take up new technology, the critics have it backwards because knowledge – upskilling and learning – is more important at this stage.
“How can you make a proper and astute investment in technology when you don’t understand what you are buying,” says Presnell (pictured). “Digital technology is not like buying a car, it can do so much more if you just understand how to use it properly, like integrating your online and offline operations. However, I come across retailers daily who simply don’t know what’s possible.”
Presnell says that many of the retailers he meets have a surface awareness of common branded digital solutions like MailChimp or Xero and they think that’s it.
“Most will not know that it is possible to integrate all your technology into one seamless system, including up-dating your stock inventory and ecommerce store when a product is sold in the bricks and mortar store. Instead, many rely on out the box branded solutions with limited functionality.
“That said, it is also possible to integrate off-the-shelf systems to get more out of them,” says Presnell.
For many retailers, technology has been compartmentalised – a space reserved for experts. The reality is that the lines between technology and business operations are blurring. No longer can business owners afford to leave technological decisions solely to IT professionals because they cannot make good decisions without understanding.
“Despite its apparent advantages, there are still barriers to technology adoption,” says Presnell. “For many, it’s seen as a complicated and high-risk undertaking. But often, it’s simply a lack of education. The divide between strategic visions and grassroots execution is vast.
“While the government works to eliminate barriers to technology adoption, businesses must take the initiative to educate themselves and integrate their operations. Digital is no longer just the domain of IT experts; it’s the new frontier for every forward-thinking business owner.”
How to get the best of technology through integration:
1. Understand Your Tech Stack
To begin, recognise the components that make up your online business, from your website platform to accounting software and even your freight-forwarding company. Only by understanding these tools can you begin to visualise how they might work together.
2. Understand How Components Interact
Reflect in how sales from your website enter your accounting software. Are you still relying on outdated methods like exporting and importing CSV files, or manually entering data? Redundant tasks not only waste time but also introduce potential for errors.
3. Seek Automation Opportunities
Assess your business processes. Identify the tasks that are time-consuming and error-prone. Often, there’s a technological solution to automate these tasks, even if it might not seem obvious at first.
“It’s almost always possible to find a way to make technology work more efficiently for your business,” says Presnell. “Systemisation not only protects the business from the potential loss of knowledge when employees leave but also standardises and streamlines processes, leading to considerable cost savings.
“Integrating systems frees staff from manual, labour-intensive tasks. This allows them to focus more on customer engagement, a critical component in today’s customer-centric business world.”
Convergence is an Auckland ecommerce integration company.