How technological innovation can help you grow during economic uncertainty

11 Jan 2023
Posted by Crownpeak
How technological innovation can help you grow during economic uncertainty

During economic uncertainty, it’s easy for businesses to cut costs and freeze investments. But those that end up thriving, spend money strategically and invest for the future. However, during these times the ‘pot’ to invest is limited so any innovation needs to have clear ROI in that it will generate either efficiencies or revenue growth, ideally both.

The cost of living crisis, declining trade relations and rising inflation means a difficult year is set to hit. This climate means business leaders often turn their attention to quick wins that show immediate results, instead of long term investments.

Companies that continue to innovate and adapt to new technologies, customer preferences, and market conditions are more likely to succeed. It may seem risky but investing in innovation that increases efficiency should always remain within your strategic priorities.

Why You Should Innovate in an Economic Downturn

Economic uncertainty can give retailers an opportunity to stop and review their processes, seek new opportunities and innovate their technology to solve new problems. “Organizations that focused on innovation even during the 2009 crisis, outperformed the market average by 30% and their growth continued to accelerate the following years as well.”

Innovation is essential to stay competitive and keep attracting customers. In a recession, consumer spending tends to drop, as customers are more price-sensitive and selective about what they buy. When every penny counts, find new ways to meet customers’ needs, whilst controlling costs and improving efficiency.

By introducing new products, services, or technologies, you can differentiate from your competitors and offer customers something unique and valuable. Additionally, innovation can help you cut costs and improve your operations by increasing productivity and efficiency. By finding ways to do more with less, you can maintain profitability and position yourself for success when the economy recovers.

However, it’s important to carefully consider priorities and allocate resources. Innovation can be time-consuming and expensive, focus on innovations that align with your overall business strategy. Prepare a strong business case by researching the real ROI of the particular technology you want to invest in and you’ll be rewarded in the long-run.

Choosing digital innovation as a strategy for your e-commerce business

Digital optimisation/transformation has been top of the agenda for many businesses for years. It refers to the use of technology to fundamentally change how organisations operate and deliver value to customers. During a recession, retailers deploy digital strategies to improve efficiency, reduce costs, improve customer and employee experience, outperform competitors and drive growth.

Digital technologies can provide new ways to interact with customers, deliver products and services, and gather data. Giving you the tools to better understand your customers’ needs and preferences, increasing the relevancy of recommendations to create a personalised shopping experience. For example, you could use AI (Artificial Intelligence) and machine learning to predict which products will be most popular with customers, and recommend them to the shopper to increase conversions and customer engagement.

What we know during a recession is that every opportunity to convert is crucial and taking a personalised approach improves the propensity to convert a sale.

6 ways to differentiate with digital now

Digital technologies can enable you to automate and streamline your operations to help reduce costs and improve efficiency. For example:

Innovative payment options.
Offer convenience to your customers and help streamline the final part of their customer journey. You’ll find conversion increase and checkout abandonment decline.

Personalise the customer journey.
Every customer is different, requiring a tailored customer experience. Build highly relevant experiences with technology such as machine learning and personalisation algorithms to improve the findability of your products to maximise revenue and conversion.

Make the AI work for you.
By automating mundane processes, your team can launch products fast, improve speed to merchandise, reduce costs and get time to focus on value-adding tasks, increasing efficiency and speed.

Cloud-based systems.
Helps reduce the upfront and maintenance costs of your IT infrastructure to improve your operations and gain a competitive edge.

A seamless omnichannel experience.
A consistent experience across all channels including online, mobile, and in-store, will boost your overall customer satisfaction. Your customers will be able to shop on their terms.

Progressively migrating to a modern commerce architecture.
By empowering your teams with a flexible e-commerce platform, both business and development teams can test and experiment incrementally across individual areas of the customer journey.

Accelerate digital innovation to thrive

Overall, optimising your digital toolset will prepare you for success during this period of uncertainty. By leveraging the powers of automation, increasing personalisation and cutting costs, you’ll find new ways to engage with your customers, develop new products and services, and improve your operations as a whole for long-term success.

Whilst investing in technology may seem like a risky choice, past downturns have proven that those who are willing to do so will thrive in the long run.