Brands are shifting heavily towards digital sales...is it going to continue for long ?

By VARINDIA - 2020-09-03

Brands are shifting heavily towards digital sales...is it going to continue for long ?

There is a huge market shift happening and there are best reasons why there are huge hair cuts in the job market. During times of economic constraint and market upheaval, CEOs need to make dispassionate cost-cutting decisions to ensure the survival and revival of their business. It leads to impact on the jobs related to the customer-facing, field sales jobs and should be replaced with ecommerce talent. Salespeople take up a lion’s share of the payroll - some are the highest paid employees in a company-and their overhead can consume up to 30% of the cost of deal closure or acquisition. Contrast with digital marketing, inside sales and e-commerce transactions. They are just taking pennies on the dollar in cost of sales.

 

Larger companies are also now finding themselves in the position of having potentially lost millions through cancelled events. The main reason is that customers are increasingly (with the lockdown) searching and sourcing products online and want on-demand interaction with brands any time of the day or night. The next 10 years is going to be India's "golden moment" in key sectors like technology, pharmaceutical, e-commerce and manufacturing, said a top venture capitalist from Silicon Valley, pointing at the USD 20 billion foreign direct investment in the country amidst the coronavirus outbreak.

 

This gives India an opportunity for an economic game-changer. I think it's predicated by two things - The number of smartphone users (in India) is over 500 million, maybe even close to a billion. Second, the government's push for digital has taken a number of digital transactions through the roof. With this the entire business ecosystem is adopting new technologies like never before -- which not only provides easy solutions in business but also is a market in itself.

 

According to Forrester Research, a whopping 68% of B2B buyers found going online superior to interacting with a salesperson, and 62% said they could finalize selection criteria or vendor list solely on digital content. Companies haven’t missed the signs, either. Brands are investing heavily in the digital sales and marketing channels, and also boosting their e-commerce business through their own websites and those of portals and channel partners.

 

The coronavirus is rapidly ushering in the age of the low-touch economy and all-digital selling. If you’ve been hesitant in the past, now is the time to make dramatic changes to your business and you can honestly do so in the name of cost-cutting, customer acquisition and business survival.

 

Secondly, technologists have poked at the edges of this trust problem for several years, and while technologies like Block chain have been cited as being key pieces of the trust puzzle, they have yet to see widespread application beyond solving niche problems like food tracing or payment processing.

 

A question arises - Were studies done before the pandemic to make everything digital. The biggest roadblock for transitioning from field sales to e-commerce has been corporate culture. With this unfortunately “customer handling” is no longer what it used to be as business and relationships become more virtualized and automated. Another question comes to mind how long we have to live in this virtual world, which was the dream of the technology innovators. Experts say, there will be again a bubble burst to the digital world.

 

While it's hard to accurately imagine and predict the future, I am hopeful that technology leaders will reverse the troubling trend of regarding every screen and camera with suspicion, and throwing money at complex security "solutions" that can be defeated by a teenager with a telephone. There will be a huge shift we are going to witness in the coming days from security to trust. Tools we take for granted like email were designed for smaller networks in which participants literally knew each other personally.

 

To address attacks on these tools, measures like encryption, complex passwords, and other security-focused technologies were applied, but that did not address the fundamental issue of trust. All the complex passwords, training, and encryption technologies in the universe won't prevent a harried executive from clicking on a link in an email that looks legitimate enough, unless we train that executive to no longer trust anything in their inbox, which compromises the utility of email as a business tool.

 

Finally, if you think about long-term shifts, this is an acceleration towards digital.

 

S Mohini Ratna, Editor, VARINDIA


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