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Why Being Great at Digital is Mandatory For Survival

I just came across an article on TheStreet called Can Target Escape the Stigma of Having Been Slow to Digital? It paints a pretty dire picture of Target’s digital commerce failures, according to Target's Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer Casey Carl.

"As consumers rapidly embraced digital, we reacted too slowly," Carl said. "We played catch-up, and we treated the businesses separately, while competitors who doubled down their investments and moved to integrate their organizations grabbed market share."

Target noted that it was "too reliant on third-party vendors" and lacked "a strong bench of in-house expertise." In other words, Target didn’t take digital transformation seriously. It initially outsourced its platform to Amazon.com, then tried to run digital commerce as a separate business, while competitors like Walmart and Amazon took a “digital-first” mentality to the future of commerce. And now Target has a long climb ahead to re-establish itself in the highly competitive retail market.

And what happened to Target can happen to any business in any industry. Consider the financial services industry. I was recently introduced to Venmo as a fast and fun way to send money. Many on the marketing team at Acquia use Venmo multiple times a day. Sure, they still log into their bank website to check balances or pay the occasional bill, but Venmo owns the engagement by providing far more compelling experience… and it supports Emoji’s! Is Venmo a threat to the stoic financial services industry? Absolutely.

Sustainable business success all comes down to agility and innovation. Companies who embrace digital, win. Companies who fight it and hold onto legacy business models, lose.

photo credit:Dean Hochman

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