Many businesses have been forced to go digital due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the endless possibilities that digital adoption can bring about to businesses, many still continue to take short-term advances by limiting themselves to only using online channels to drive promotions and sales. In short, how else can businesses take advantage of digitalisation?
Online channels to increase promotions and sales
Call it information overload, or death by promotions but the reality is there are probably more ads online than we would like.
Since the COVID-19 outbreak, 76 percent of businesses in Singapore have been running their operations virtually, which presents an opportunity for businesses to grow their online presence and build a long-term digital strategy. Likewise, 73 percent of businesses use online channels largely to drive promotions and sales for their products and services.
GetApp interviewed over 500 employees based in Singapore to understand current business sentiments on the adoption of digital technologies and the findings demonstrate a similar pattern: local businesses have the opportunity to do more with their existing digital tools, but many are choosing to take a reactive and short-term approach to digital transformation.
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Singapore businesses need to focus on planning digital strategies ahead
Beyond sales and promotions, businesses also reported using online channels to engage in dialogue with customers on product reviews (55 percent), communicating company policy and hours updates (47 percent) and addressing customer queries (39 percent).
Furthermore, 40 percent of businesses surveyed admitted to implementing marketing efforts online temporarily while another 36 percent were also using digital selling platforms as a stopgap solution.
These insights indicate great potential for businesses to make the most out of their online channels and environments to drive awareness, user engagement, brand reputation and customer loyalty in the long run – all part of a good digital strategy that could help businesses establish a strong online presence.
The foundation of a digital strategy
The survey discovered that businesses recognise customer retention is the top priority, short- and long-term, and key to success. After all, happy customers are likely to stick around longer, spend more and even refer more people.
While businesses are starting to look ahead, their current digital strategy needs to pivot and align with the long-term priorities.
In addition, a successful digital strategy begins with setting the right business goals and hiring and/or training digitally savvy employees. Businesses need to ensure employees are equipped with digital skills needed to remain competitive and relevant in the current digital environment. Business leaders have identified several digital skills they seek:
Social media marketing skills ranked as the most needed skill in the next 6 months, in-line with businesses’ long-term priorities to retain customers, acquire new customers and improve brand image – all of which requires a holistic digital plan.
Opportunities on digital beyond promotions
The digital acceleration in Singapore has given businesses an additional platform to rethink their business strategy to create a better experience for their customers, employees, and partners. Businesses can leverage the digital environment to build up their brand and customer base that could result in a stronger top-of-mind recall, engagement, and loyalty in the long run.
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