When is it Time to Risk New Digital Investment…?
My first Internet adventure happened in the late 1990’s when I was tasked with launching an eCommerce site for a home shopping retailer. It was a challenge to get the necessary focus from all of the business, with one IT Director warning me that this web thing isn’t going to be everything you think it is.
Thankfully we persevered and arguably the web thing is ‘the business’ these days!
The phrase ‘premature optimization’, attributed to legendary computer scientist Donald Knuth, seemingly warns against unnecessary complication but Knuth actually wrote “We should forget about small efficiencies, say about 97% of the time: premature optimization is the root of all evil. Yet we should not pass up our opportunities in that critical 3%.”
My eCommerce project was both a salutary lesson in realising the right moment for an opportunity and also in understanding where customers were getting value from the business already. It allowed for the creation of a website that made it easier to shop at a time and a place that wasn’t dictated by a television schedule.
This issue has come up again in some research for a project I’m engaged with where online retailers are faced with an investment choice to upgrade their current organically grown business and move to a more omnichannel model, requiring the capabilities of a full Digital Experience Platform (DXP).
On the one hand, existing website and eCommerce plug-in combinations have worked well, albeit with a lot of manual support and help from separate social media teams; however they do not leverage an integrated eCommerce model and so are duplicating effort, not to mention increased costs from maintaining a legacy IT platform compared to a more lean cloud deployment.
The optimal time to invest in Digital can be a difficult choice to make, especially in the current climate, but not if those businesses base their decisions on informed analysis of their existing operations.
My advice is to be data led and use that to gain insight into what drives customer engagement, interaction and satisfaction – but also what doesn’t.
Doing that will help ensure your digital investment choices will always be in the top 3% of decisions your business can make.