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Why South African Businesses Should Pivot to a Digital-First Strategy in 2021

Digital Transformation in South Africa
Photo by Keenan Constance on Unsplash.

The new year brings with it the pressure to set new goals, adjust our current ways, and maybe even start something new. Business leaders are no exception to this feeling. One of the most common questions South African businesses may be asking themselves right now is if 2021 is the time to change to a digital-first strategy.

This article will provide you with some basic information that you need to know if you are considering such a strategy.

What is a digital-first strategy?


A digital-first strategy is the way businesses stay relevant in the modern world, connect to their customers and deliver products or services in the most efficient way possible. It is about utilising new technologies and digital platforms in a variety of ways in order to achieve goals and grow your business.

Many companies make the mistake of adopting one or two trending technologies into their business and then not understanding why they are not seeing the expected results, and this is because a successful digital-first strategy requires full commitment and integration of digital options and functions into all aspects of the business.

Why it is so important now for South African Businesses?

In South Africa especially, there is hesitation when it comes to updating to digital channels, due to a lack of stable internet infrastructure as well as fewer engineers and experts in the field compared to first world countries. However, many advances in ICT and technology are being made in the country, most notably the introduction of 5G making the speed of digital services far more efficient.

It is also worth noting that reports such as this on striata.com (https://www.striata.com/resources/reading-room/digital-transformation-in-south-africa/) remarks that the mining, agricultural and financial services sectors would gain many benefits if they were to commit to more digital-first strategies. The evidence is clear from the mining sector already as this sector has seen significantly higher efficiency due to digital methods of analysing data.

How it is happening?

Furthermore, looking at other examples of businesses that have made the switch to digital-first strategies, communication within the companies improved, as well as customer satisfaction. Customers tend to feel drawn to companies that give them efficiency through modern methods and marketing outcomes are more profitable when they are diversified over a variety of digital platforms; as this is how to reach many audiences, especially young adults who are often a target market for spending power.

The fact of the matter is that so many people today spend a good portion of their time on the internet and on digital platforms, therefore it pays to make your product or service a part of their lives in this way.

Wrapping it up

The digital world also has many opportunities to learn more about your customers and thus personalise your product or service to suit them. By being more digital-friendly your business can partner with companies that already have data on buying habits and preferences.

However, it is important to be safe and transparent when it comes to your customers data and to give them autonomy where possible over what they share, as many consumers will not hand over data or information if they do not feel they can trust your company.

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