Episode 27: Digital Transformation Series: Technology’s Impact on Business Health & Evolving the e-commerce Approach

Announcer: Welcome to this episode of “60-second Retail” - a BDO podcast keeping you in-the-know on events and trends in retail and consumer products industry impacting your bottom line, in just a few short minutes.

Natalie: Hello, my name is Natalie Kotlyar. I am the National Leader of the Retail and Consumer Products industry group at BDO USA.  In this episode, part of our special Digital Transformation Series we are speaking with Robert Brown, Managing Director and Client Executive at BDO USA, to discuss how technology can impact business health, and how retailers can evolve their approach to e-commerce.  Welcome Robert.

Retailers use typical metrics to determine business health and we’re all familiar with these metrics.  For example – top line revenue, EBITDA, and cost of goods sold.  How can retailers leverage technology to provide more clarity on business health?

Robert: Thanks Natalie. Certainly, there are many technology solutions that retailers are using today, such as CRM, ERP, dashboards, even relying on good old spreadsheets to get to the health of their business. And my answer isn't necessarily adding more technology in addition to those, but rather integrating the technology that you already have.

Oftentimes we use tools that perform a singular job and Excel is a prime example of that.  But if you do have a CRM, if you do have any ERP – and a lot of times we see people using ERPs purely for their accounting or HR management – we really look at how we can connect the CRM and ERP together.

This gives you a better connection of understanding what your sales per unique customers are, your average order value, your conversion rate, your 80/20 sort of skewed rationalization, but also the costs and profits that those sales are generating, because you're connecting your front end of the business to the back end of the business.

Natalie: I totally agree with you there Robert. Some of those new metrics are so critical in today's e-Commerce platform. So, sticking with that, in the current environment retailers are truly being forced to embrace e-commerce and even the traditional retailers that previously have not used some of these more important technologies. With that in mind, how can retailers evolve their approach to e-Commerce in order to better engage their customers in today's world?

Robert: Well e-commerce certainly isn't new to anybody in retail, but I think rather the approach of e-Commerce has changed significantly from when it was first introduced.

The days of a storefront online, where I simply add a product and a buy button are gone.  Rather, we need to be looking at how the merchandise, the content is merchandised on those websites and really creating exceptional buying experiences.  This is all about a customer first strategy.
So it doesn't necessarily mean big expensive content and all these fancy pages and things they need to do, but rather, connecting this ecommerce site to sort of the social conversations that are going on out there – the social media, the market influencers – all the things that are being conducted around your products and services and really connecting out to drive more business into the platform.

This is about leveraging recommendations, reviews, opinions, really areas where you can glom onto that conversation and automatically give people a buy button; a reason to buy from that interest that they're generating at that point. And that again is really perpetuating, sort of this, more convenient way to shop because you're discovering new ways to reach your customers.

Natalie: I absolutely agree.  I mean it's a whole different world of ecommerce. Thank you, Robert. We look forward to continuing the discussion in future segments on the importance of digital transformation in the retail industry.
Announcer: And that concludes this episode of BDO’s “60-second Retail” podcast. Don’t forget to tune in for the next episode! To find more information on our hosts, guests, BDO’s services, or listen to previous episodes of “60-second Retail”, please visit www.bdo.com/60-second-retail.



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