With consumers at home, the urgency of digital transformation becomes more critical

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated a trend that’s been growing for years, the transformation to a digital-first mindset for business. Stores that have been brick-and-mortar for decades are learning to pivot and adapt, or else fail and be forgotten. This paradigm shift is happening now, and enterprises are scrambling to keep up. The keys to a successful digital transformation include adapting your service and your IT infrastructure.

Photo by Georg Arthur Pflueger on Unsplash

The shift to digital is more important than ever before

The stay-at-home orders have limited physical travel, but digital commerce steams ahead. And shopping has become a digital activity. As your digital presence becomes the face of your company, the rules for competition change. No longer is it location, location, location. Instead, think experience, experience and experience.

A great customer experience is vital to success in any competitive industry, whether in-store or online. However, online experiences can be frustrating, especially if they’re slow, buggy or not intuitive. Speed and full-functionality across all device types increase sales and engagement, as well as customer satisfaction and the chance that a consumer will share a positive review.

Adapt to new customer expectations

Consumer trends are changing fast, as society works together to curb the spread of Covid-19, changing behaviors and expectations. And retailers are adapting by offering new delivery options, like BOPIS (buy online, pickup in-store), curbside pickup and contactless delivery. While BOPIS has been on the radar for years, the pandemic pushed the urgency to deploy.

This is an attractive option for consumers because it merges the benefits of online and in-store. Shopping online allows you to travel across multiple stores, search for exact products, check pricing and availability and read reviews, all from the comfort of your couch and in minutes. However, instead of waiting for shipping, in-store shopping allows for consumers to get their hands on your product faster. The digital shopping and checkout experience, as well as the physical product pickup experience, should be fast and frictionless to maximize the benefits of BOPIS.

The lines between digital and physical are blurring, and devices are now extensions of brick and mortar.

Mobile is the primary gateway

Data continues to show mobile devices as the primary gateway to the web. Moreover, mobile revenue share has surpassed 50% for the first time ever in Q2 2020. This is an established and predicted trend, not a fluke caused by our nation’s coronavirus response.

This trend extends beyond retail, as 50% of all B2B inquiries are made on mobile devices and that number is set to hit 70% by the end of the year. However, these numbers only tell half of the picture, as some important engagement metrics remain lower on mobile devices than on tablets and computers. Time on website, pages per visit and conversion rates are all significantly better on laptops, desktops and tablets than smartphones.

Why such a disparity between growing mobile phone usage and ROI? The answer is poor performance.

Slow speeds and a poor UX is crushing ROI 

The web was not built for small screens, resulting in slower speeds and a more cumbersome experience.

Fixed internet is faster than a mobile broadband connection. Couple that with reduced computing capacity and battery power, and you can understand why phones deliver poorer performance on many websites, leading to lower engagement. Properly building for the mobile web requires lightweight code that performs across all channels and devices.

How do you get from where you are to where you want to be?

Digital transformation starts with performant infrastructure

If you’re saddled with legacy systems and swimming in technical debt, it’s time to transform.

The task may seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Your current stack can be utilized and preserved by bolting-on a new frontend. For optimal performance, aim for these best practices: a headless frontend, a cloud-based network of CDNs and a codebase that meets the highest standards of efficiency.

  • Go headless: Headless architecture enables breakthrough user experiences, rapid deployment and scalability. The beauty with headless is presentation and application layers that can be cached and updated via web services or API calls to ensure dynamic and database-driven content is always delivered fresh.
  • Choosing the right framework: We recommend AMP-as-a-Framework as the frontend for a number of reasons. The open-source framework was built for sub-second speeds, and since its release, AMP has grown beyond its original purpose of delivering mobile content for publishers to include commerce, stories, digital ads, email, and more.
  • Delivery at the edge: By moving content to the cloud, relying on CDNs and a distributed system, infrastructure is more resilient and reliable. The cloud is purpose-built to self-diagnose traffic surges to prevent downtime and provide virtually unlimited scale.

We can accelerate transformation and digital growth 

If you have any questions about improving your digital experience or transitioning to a mobile-first company, let’s talk.