…and 1 power to help you conquer them.
August 7, 2020. Written by Álvaro Pin, Head of Customer Experience at HATCH.
Any digital transformation journey can be overwhelming. For fashion brands, stakes are high as we try to overcome the biggest challenge in our history. Whether you are a full digital expert or a newbie trying to help your company digitize, there will be challenges. Unplanned challenges. At HATCH, we’ve encountered a myriad of situations we couldn’t predict. Planning is key, yet a solid digital mindset is much more important to succeed. If change were easy, everybody would do it, right? At HATCH, we’ve gone through our own share of surprises. Here are some of the challenges we faced nobody told us about when we started:
#1 You won’t know where to start.
Like a blank page for writers, starting can be hard. Particularly when dealing with change, there are probably more than one areas to start with in your digital transformation. Add the pressure of external forces to the mix (ehem, Covid-19) and there’s a risk you may get stuck before you start. Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Identifying the right problem to solve can be harder than solving it. Instead of undertaking a company-wide transformation in one go, embrace micro-transformations to reach positive business outcomes faster. Think big, start small and let your team’s actions drive innovation and change forward. Tip: take time understand your why (in other words, your North Star). In moments of doubt, it will help you choose the right direction to follow.
#2 You don’t need a 2/3/5 year plan
At HATCH, we often hear companies planning their end-to-end digital transformation in great detail. Don’t get us wrong: planning is important. We do so in order to minimize risks during the execution of a project. However, planning too far into the future may give you the illusion of control and leave you off-guard to the unexpected challenges you digital transformation will surface. Instead, build frameworks like feedback loops to continuously learn from your customer’s feedback (or employees) and apply those findings into the next steps of your digital transformation.
#3 Be ready to disappoint people
While most leaders and employees think their company should undertake a digital transformation initiative, very few understand the impact it’ll have in their day-to-day jobs. Everyone wants their company to be modern, digital and efficient, but no-one really wants to change to achieve that. According to the Kubler-Ross model, shock, denial and anger are common first reactions in anybody’s change journey as we deny and fear what lies ahead of us. This means you’ll almost certainly meet friction and pushback in your digital transformation initiative and that’s okay. In fact, embrace it. Ask questions, let people share their thoughts and never, ever stop involving them. Communication and support are key to break that initial barrier with your users and make them part of your journey. Did you think we had it easy when we started our Digital Showroom journey 6 years ago?
#4 If you aren’t failing, you’re probably not succeeding either
This one sounds counterintuitive but trust us, it’s one of the big ones. We often see brands setting up unrealistic standards for the budget, timings and milestones for their digital transformation initiatives. However, the biggest pitfall we see when setting expectations is not accounting for failure. At HATCH we have the motto “Fail forward” and we embody it in everything we do. Healthy transformation initiatives are those that can account for failure, learn from it and refine their strategies accordingly. Failure and success may seem to be opposite terms, yet we believe the first leads to the latter. There’s an invaluable amount of learning in failing and it can help your organization take a leap forward. Avoiding it may lead to your team becoming less flexible and less ready to improve, which can ultimately limit the value of your digital transformation. Set a digital mindset that encourages people to try new things, fail and learn from it.
# 5 Technology isn’t the first thing you need to think about.
Last, but definitely not least, let’s talk about technology. When talking about digitization it’s common to think about the technologies that will bring value to your company. Unfortunately, this focus on technology often misses the mark on the most important asset to your transformation: people. Don’t forget about them. In fact, start with them. The sheer amount of information and feedback you will get from them will help you overcome many challenges in your journey (including some of the ones we mention above). For us at HATCH, the first weeks of our Digital Showroom journey were mostly spent in showrooms, with sales reps and buyers. Sure, they thought we were crazy and looked at us with skepticism, but this allowed us to dive into their world and understand how digitization could improve their lives and make wholesale selling a true digital and sustainable experience.
You can only imagine what change can do to your organization, but it’s your employees that can make it a reality. Encourage them to be part of the change and build a community around it that creates a sense of belonging. Here at HATCH, building our first super-user community (a community digital ambassadors that help your organization drive change forward) was probably the most rewarding learning we had in our journey with the Digital Showroom.
So what is it that you need? Is it experience? Is it a skill? it’s a mindset
You may be thinking by now whether or not we forgot about that power. We haven’t. Here it comes: nurture a digital mindset in your organization. Look for the people that are willing to learn and work with them to build the foundation of your digital transformation. Sure, you may bring people from the outside to do the job at some point, but they’ll also need support to succeed. A Digital Mindset can be the first stone in creating a culture that positions your company in the right lane to become more agile and efficient.
For fashion wholesale selling, this means your organization can improve the buying experience, slash your time to market and become more sustainable along the way. We don’t talk the talk. We walk the walk. If you want to discover the true potential of your own digital transformation, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and get a chance to win a free digital transformation check-in report.
For more about our services, don’t forget to check out our Transformation Services page!