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3 questions to uncover the value of your digital transformation

Oct 8, 2020 –  Álvaro Pin, Head of Growth at HATCH

2020 has been the year where digitization has finally taken off for fashion. Especially for wholesale selling. New players have entered the market, terms such as digital and virtual showrooms have become mainstream and we’ve fully embraced remote sell-in appointments, trade shows, and fashion weeks. While virtual acceleration is key for fashion brands to survive this pandemic, you should not forget about the long-term value of your digital transformation. At HATCH, we call this the digital driver, your purpose. 

Purpose is what separates digitization from true digital transformation: moving away from a short-term technology-focused exercise to a long-term business strategy that challenges old ways of working to create new ones that leverage technology. The only way to unlock this potential is to have a clear idea of the ‘why’ behind digital transformation, or it may fall short and become just another IT initiative. Whether you’ve already started your wholesale remote journey or not, here are 3 questions that will help you maximize the value of your digital transformation in the long run.

digitzation vs digital transformation

#1: Why do I want to go digital?

We get it. You need to digitize because it is the only way you can keep doing business right now. Great! Adapting quickly to new challenges is proof you have the right mindset towards change. 

Today's global disruption has accelerated this process – don’t stop there. Reflect on your end goal. Why is it important to go digital? Think beyond those immediate needs. Understand the long-term strategic value and define a change story to drive it forward. Missing a strong change story may leave your digital transformation without fuel to go beyond 2020. By answering this question you should know what your digital driver is for digitizing your wholesale business. Some of the most common purposes for wholesale’s digital transformation in fashion are:

  • Become more efficient 
  • Become more sustainable
  • Improve your sell-in experience for customers

#2: What’s blocking me from going digital?

Now that you’ve found the why, it is time to consider the obstacles in your digital transformation journey. Don’t explore technology providers just yet. Instead, take a look at your current processes. Assess the areas that may hold your digital transformation back. For wholesale brands, content, data, samples, and people’s understanding of change are common challenges in the transition to digital. Answer this question and you should know what your change blockers are.  

Use the HATCH Value Calculator Tool to assess the potential value of your digital transformation.

#3: What value do I want to unlock by going digital? 

Time to dive into the value you can get from your digital transformation in your brand. For each area, define one value unlock, an opportunity in your business that is uncovered by minimizing a change blocker. For instance, if you wish to be more sustainable, sample cost reduction can be a great value unlock. If you’ve identified multiple goals, you’ll need more than one value unlocks. As you may have guessed by now, your value unlocks will stem out of your current pain points, which are related to your end goal, your “why”. 

Tip: Digital transformation often covers many business areas. If you don’t have all stakeholders involved yet, this is the moment to bring them into the process. This will save you both time and effort in defining and measuring the value of your digital transformation. 

Assess the value of your digital transformation in 3 questions

Once you have clear answers to these questions, it’s time to look at technology. It may sound counterintuitive but trust us: technology comes last in your digital transformation strategy. A people and process-first approach will give you the means to unlock the full value of your digital transformation. 

Remember, this is only the start. Change management, communication, and a digital mindset are other important elements of your digital transformation strategy. Ultimately, long-term value is unlocked through challenging old ways of working and using technology to transform existing businesses. Even creating new ones.

This article is part 1 of a series on digital transformation in wholesale. Part 2 is focused on measuring the value of your digital transformation