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THE SALSIFY SMARTER MERCHANDISING BLOG

7 Ways Your Organization Must Tackle Digital Transformation

Posted by Cara Wood on 8:00 AM on March 13, 2018

One needs only to look at the success of digital-first brands to see that the traditional go-to-market strategies of brands are dead. Even if the majority of your sales are coming from offline channels, your shoppers are influenced by what they find online. Being successful today requires a new level of coordination and speed across previously siloed departments.

Brands must deliver the product information that consumers demand across every relevant sales touchpoint. Product experience management demands an empowered, cross-functional team that understands the new realities facing brand manufacturers and retailers today.

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1. MOVE LEADERSHIP FROM ITS ECOMMERCE CORNER TO A CROSS FUNCTIONAL FORCE.

A Chief Digital Officer, or the leader responsible for ecommerce revenue, must have the appropriate span of control to truly coordinate across multiple departments - including influence over areas not typically thought of as “ecommerce” such as finance and logistics - and orchestrate long-term progress towards digital transformation.

2. ADOPT A MERCHANDISER’S MINDSET WHEN SELLING.

The retail buyers your salesforce knew are being replaced by algorithms that act as assortment gatekeepers. Your top retailers want to list 100% of your products online. Your salesforce can no longer rely on individual relationships with retail buyers. Even traditional retailers like Walmart and Kroger are leaning increasingly on algorithms to determine which products to carry in-store. Sales teams must embrace the quant nature of ecommerce sales.

3. DRIVE DEMAND FROM CONSUMERS AND YOUR SALES CHANNELS.

TV, radio, or newspaper ads are skipped by the youngest generations of shoppers. Mass media does not have the impact it once had on any audience. The role of a marketer in the digital age is to leverage the strengths of your brand and data from your sales channels to customize messages that speak to each relevant target audience.

4. BUILD A LOGISTICAL POWERHOUSE THAT IS A COMPETITIVE DIFFERENTIATOR.

Product availability is critical to a successful ecommerce footprint. Look beyond treating logistics as a cost center and reconfigure your team for same-day drop-shipping, pick & packing tactics, and other innovations to sustain competitive advantage.

5. ENABLE FASTER LEGAL & COMPLIANCE OVERSIGHT.

Meeting the regulatory and compliance requirements is a must-and it can’t be a roadblock to speed. Coordinate with legal compliance teams to protect against risks without sacrificing time-to-market with early or incremental approval processes.

6. POWER ORGANIZATIONAL EFFICIENCY AND DATA COMPLIANCE WITH IT.

Traditionally, IT is burdened with safeguarding product data as a static resource and may wind up trapped in a frustrating gatekeeper relationship with go-to-market teams. Build partnerships with sales, marketing and product teams by using flexible integration tools to meet your team’s needs and the organization’s data security needs.

7. SHORTEN YOUR PRODUCT R&D CYCLES.

Amazon can launch a new brand and a new product in 2 months from a cold start, and thousands of Chinese 3Ps can do the same. Your product development departments must get comfortable with shortening your product roll-out times in order to keep pace with the competition. 

As part of digital transformation, existing brand manufacturers must adapt nearly every function across their organizations to the new reality to survive. Coordinated national product launches, which need months of planning and involve mass distribution and mass media advertising, are too inefficient. Our customer Dorel Juvenile, which sells global brands including Safety 1st, Maxi-Cosi, and Cosco, recently shared how they built a scalable approach to ecommerce across departments. Build your own team that has the resources, flexibility, and authority to act quickly in support of bringing products to market online.

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