Starting a business from scratch is always tough the first time, but planning its shift from the original business model to a new one is a completely different challenge.

Nowadays companies have look at the digital world more as the only way to survive rather than a coherent road to innovate and bring their customers new value. People tend to believe that innovation is only a matter of technology and shiny gadgets when, actually, it really just boils down to the basic element of any enterprise: its people.

Digital transformation is not something mysterious and high-tech, as its essence is about the transformation of ‘people’” – Yang Guo’an, Senior Management Consultant of Tencent

Going digital is really a matter of mind set, a game first played in the mind of the management and then applied to the organizational level. Giulio Finzi, Senior Partner at Netcomm, the Italian E-commerce Association, who participated to the EU CBEC Webinar Series in 2020, believes that digitalization is a top-down process: the transition must be endorsed first by the higher tear of the management, the C-levels, and only than it will have enough strength to continue its growth along the organization.

However, changing routine and shifting from a model to the next always presents a few challenges that the management must face in order to keep going:

  1. Lack of a clear direction: “others are going digital, so I should do that too”.

Many retailers are starting to embrace digital solutions just to guarantee survivability, as the past year-and-a-half has taught us. However, we should not fall in the loop and just copy what our neighbors are doing. Management needs to find an objective, a goal and then attune all efforts and digital solutions around this final arrival point: better user experience? Integration between mobile and store window? Customized offers for loyal consumers? These are all viable options.

  1. Lack of strong willpower: “yes, or maybe no…”

Just like our brain needs time and repetition to build up new routines and be able to work more efficiently, companies too need time before getting used to new systems. For this reason, once the decision to shift has been taken, the management must stick to it and continue the same direction.

  1. Lack of organizational skill: “no one seem to understand what going digital means”

Leaders must understand their own organizational structure and support it along the transition. Revolutions are never easy to digest and failing to convince your team at this stage about the benefits of digitalization can bring the whole shift to a premature halt.

Nevertheless, the ever-changing business environment has forced all leaders to start endorsing it. Digital transformation is not only imperative for every business that wants to survive, but it should be seen as a new opportunity to evolve the traditional way of doing retail.