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Digital Stats-a-Palooza: Walk Before They Make You Run

Digital Transformation

… to buy their way to digital success, and are now alive only in our memories and MBA courses. Blockbuster didn’t see digital coming and, unfortunately, media evolved so fast, its competitors that were born in the digital media space were too far ahead by the time it attempted to transition. Circuit City had the same problem. With Amazon eliminating in the margin of error in the brick-and-mortar world, companies like Walmart and Best Buy had better digital strategies. Likewise, Borders Books didn’t realize that books alone were no longer enough to keep consumers returning to the store. Amazon saved readers time and money, and the high overhead of a physical storefront ended up being Borders’ demise.

Companies that did attempt a digital transformation or were born in the digital age are not immune to failure. Changing consumer habits can also cause customers to give the competitor a try. Organizations can’t always rely on consistency with product and service to stay afloat. Remember, Tower Records was atop the music and media world throughout the ’80s and ’90s, but couldn’t get people to buy when they launched an online store in 1995. Radio Shack saw the threat and built an online presence, but it wasn’t compelling enough to compete with Amazon, Fry’s and niche companies like ThinkGeek.com.

Mobile leader Blackberry was way out of tune with changing consumer habits and desires. Recent new hardware launches have been underwhelming, to be kind. Pets.com started out strongly but never really figured out how to make money in the digital space, and etoys.com couldn’t figure out the distribution aspect, despite having a large jump in the online toy industry in 1999.

But Where’s the Money?

OK, so you’ve convinced customers they need to do something. By now, most C-level execs aren’t necessarily opposed to the evolution of their company into the digital space. But they often do have a hard time figuring out how to make money in digital. Here’s one quick stat: In the U.S., 12 percent of all payments are being made on digital devices. In China, 71 percent of all digital purchases are made on a digital device.

The more digital the world becomes, the more rapidly habits like mobile payments spread and the more agile organizations need to become. Habits change so quickly that once a business thinks it has sales figured out, it needs to shift to meet the demand of a new group of consumers. Laptops were once heralded as the cutting-edge mobile office. Now, laptops are dying and …

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