Subsequently the pandemic hit. The electronic business transformation we expected to see happening over years is currently happening within a few short months. But just what does this look like?
We surveyed 406 small-business leaders to understand how they have pivoted their electronic transformation strategy since the onset of the pandemic; 68 percent of respondents said they mostly or completely operate virtually in reaction to social distancing requirements.
In this report, we will set our findings on how small companies are making these changes together with recommendations that will help you do the same, and forecasts for the future.
Essential forecasts and takeaways
Note: This report is based on the findings of Capterra’s small-business chief survey. To match some insights, we will share data from a different survey of 384 individual contributors. We are going to use single asterisks for the small-business leader survey and double asterisks for the individual contributor questionnaire as needed to differentiate throughout.
Customer retention takes centre stage in company marketing approaches
In 2021 companies will double back on digital marketing campaigns focused on client retention.
Here is a crazy number for you: 21 percent of small companies are fully digitized. At the end of 2019, that amount was three percent. Digital business transformation is here, and companies are having to reassess their digital strategies at turbo speeds. *
In Capterra’s July 2020 digital transformation survey of over 400 small-business owners, respondents cited customer retention because of their top short-term and long-term company objective. Customer retention was rated over increasing cash flow, cutting costs, and finding new clients.
This is an excellent sign that business owners know how precious loyalty is in their client base, particularly during an economic recession. In times of doubt, people are less inclined to take risks and try new things, so the probability of attracting new clients is lower than normal.
These priorities (retention, cash flow, and restricted spend) all gain from an agile, customer-centered digital strategy that focuses on getting the ideal messaging in front of the right customers at the ideal time.
Three out of four business owners do not feel they are successfully leveraging their electronic environment. If you are one of them, Concentrate on building your presence on Social Networking and ensuring your site and mobile apps are as helpful and user friendly as possible (both excellent strategies for customer retention)
Shifting internal business operations online is bittersweet: Advice from the peers
When 48 percent of our survey respondents reported that altering internal procedures (e.g., employee performance reviews) online was moderately challenging, we desired to learn more. *
We interviewed small-business owners about their experiences making this change, and asked what works they have moved entirely online and what challenges (and positives) arose along the way. Here is what they said.
Your peers say: Performance reviews are more engaging online
Traditionally, when it came time for routine performance reviews, workers, their supervisor, and an HR team member all assembled to discuss the employee’s performance. But meeting in exactly the exact same room for a face-to-face conversation is no longer required, or the standard. And this change provides real advantages that go beyond health and safety.
Dan Bailey, president of Wikilawn (an online resource for local lawn care professionals), stated that taking a mixed approach for virtual meetings and direct messaging has made employee reviews easier to program and more engaging.
Incorporating casual conversations via Slack provides workers with the chance to ask and answer questions. “This gives everyone an opportunity to consider what they need to convey and to better examine the data given.”
Scheduling an internet meeting has been easier than organizing in-person reviews, also. Bailey says:”It was a big hassle for everybody involved, but doing it this way is simple to coordinate and only takes a short block of time for the Zoom assembly, then a dedication to socialize in conversation for the rest of it.”
Your peers state: Forensic software tools require time for onboarding
Going entirely digital for some companies may consist of altering functions to virtual assistants or business process management software to help manage a completely remote business’ administrative jobs. However, this shift is not necessarily an easy one.
Tina Willis, a personal injury attorney at Tina Willis Law, experienced unexpected issues affecting particular things such as password sharing and job delegation online.
Password protection is vital to keep the safety of accounts, but there are occasions when somebody on your team needs access to your account (Willis cited uploading YouTube videos and enabling access to files in her DropBox account as illustrations ).
Password management software (for example, LastPass, which Willis uses) can help, but these solutions do not always integrate with each other system or tool your company uses.
Willis explained that the learning curve of using software for administrative tasks is challenging. When you implement a new tool for admin responsibilities such as these, don’t be afraid to ask the vendor for support to shorten the learning curve as far as possible.
Your peers say: Implementing and onboarding remotely supports a healthy workforce
In our unique contributors poll, half of workers (51 percent ) said they want the option to work remotely, permanently. ** However, the question remains if companies are prepared for this, also. 1 way to help get your company on board would be to streamline and enhance the onboarding process–new employee onboarding, that is.
Rex Freiberger, CEO of online publication Gadget Review, has found ways to make the whole interview and onboarding process entirely remote. While the company was accepting online applications and did follow-ups via email before the pandemic, they changed the remainder of the process online also. Freiburger states that online meeting applications, which enables real-time responses, is an essential part of finding the proper person for your job.
Freiberger says”When it comes to assessing content creators, we will meet internally via a Zoom discussion and review everything in real time to present our raw reactions. If we like their job, we invite them to a Zoom interview with their division lead if applicable, in addition to a senior worker who does the exact same sort of work they will be expected to perform.”
A deep dive into electronic transformation for producers
Manufacturers that adopt digital selling and marketing at this time will gain a substantial competitive edge over the next 12 months.
As an immediate effects of COVID-19, manufacturers needed to significantly cut down their manufacturing capacity. Following an extended period of losses, manufacturers are desperate to get back on course. In our small-business leaders poll, 48 percent of producers cited keeping customers as one of their top three priorities, and 44% mentioned increasing cash flow. *
Customer expectations, preferences, and needs have changed dramatically in response to pandemic-induced social distancing requirements. More than ever before, clients wish to engage and purchase virtually, forcing manufacturers to digitize their surgeries. Actually, 61 percent of manufacturing respondents say they’re conducting the majority of their company digitally, and 11 percent are running business entirely online.
When customers wish to browse and purchase online, it will become mandatory for manufacturers to provide their products across all major digital stations. To compensate for the loss of the traditional, in-house customer base, producers are aggressively pushing to acquire new clients through digital advertising channels; 72 percent of survey respondents say they’re using digital channels like social media to advertise their products.
The biggest priority for producers is to ramp production up to pre-COVID levels. To accomplish this, manufacturers will have to seek out new clients by investing in digital stations like content marketing and eCommerce to market their merchandise.
Early adopters of the change show promising results; 98 percent of manufacturing respondents in our survey say digital environments (for instance, social media) are effective in engaging clients.
3 key digital stations which producers are currently leveraging
Our small-business leaders survey identified three key digital stations that producers are using to fulfill shifted customer preferences:*
- Social networking : When it comes to going electronic, social media is 1 channel no maker can ignore. Social networking enables manufacturers to construct an internet network of interested buyers, and discuss business and product updates.
- ECommerce: before the pandemic, only 23 percent of survey respondents working in manufacturing were using eCommerce solutions to market their merchandise. These days, a full 67 percent of producers are using these solutions.
- Sites : As the consumer experience changes to finding products on the internet, building an easy-to-navigate site is more important than ever. Since COVID-19, about 51 percent of manufacturers report a rise in traffic. Of this group, 49% say that half or more of the traffic growth came from countries where they had not operated before. Consequently, demand for site building applications has grown. While just 29 percent of respondents were using this technology pre-COVID, 65 percent are using it today.
From the end of 2021, small companies will still be using software originally purchased for just temporary use.
Investing in applications to support an electronic business model is mentioned by more than half (56 percent ) of small-business owners as their best strategy for staying aggressive since the onset of the pandemic. * When asked about their intended usage for purchased software, we noticed a lack of awareness of both the long-term demand and advantages of this software.
When asked which software is the most crucial for moving digital within the next 12 months, online meeting software took the top spot for half of respondents. As an immediate reaction to social distancing guidelines, this is reasonable. As a long-term investment, should this be where small companies like yours put their money?
Let us take a look at how your peers are using, and intend to keep on using, software.
The key insight here is in the gap between the dark blue and light blue bars. The higher amounts for projected temporary use could mean small-business owners underestimate the long-term advantages of this software as they assert COVID-induced digital transformation.
When asked how applications has positively impacted their organization, small-business owners mentioned facilitating remote operations (52 percent ), increased productivity (50 percent ), and enhanced customer participation (49%) as the top three benefits. This indicates a clear comprehension of immediate software benefits for organizational change, and left us believing that it has the long-term advantages where leaders are tending to be short-sighted.
Take virtual meetings for instance. When we surveyed individual contributors about their use of online meeting applications, more than half report using it at least once each day. ** That number jumps to 80 percent for at least weekly. Your teams are working effectively as a remote workforce, and chances are good you’ll opt to keep them distant at least portion of the time. This means online meeting software is a long-term success variable, not a pandemic bandage.
Software investments aren’t just supporting a remote workforce which may need (and need ) to stay that way indefinitely, but also support digital revenue streams which will surely prove beneficial in the long term.
If you are among the tiny businesses planning on just temporary use of your new applications, alter your thinking to the way this digital technology is becoming crucial to the long-term achievement of your enterprise.
Begin by asking your staff which tools they are using, and what characteristics of these tools they use most often. From there, you can begin building the costs of those tools into your yearly budget now so you are not struggling to get the money next year or the one after.
A closing thought and key takeaways to your electronic transformation journey
Throughout this report, we have shared poll insights, digitalization tendencies predictions, stories from your peers, a deep dive for producers, and a breakdown of how software is working to support these efforts.
That was lots of information to take in, so we’ve boiled it all down to a last thought: Digitization will help your company weather instant doubts while planning for the future.
To assist you keep all this in mind, here is a summary of our predictions and need-to-know insights about the electronic transformation landscape as you move into 2021, and outside.
The invention and grit found in tiny businesses will be the origin of the success you see in your electronic transformation. As your partner in a thriving digital transformation, our recommendations, predictions, and insights are designed to support your company as you browse this tumultuous moment.