At the beginning of January 2019, a small company distributing fly fishing equipment and fly-tying materials adopts a new management software, driven by the new fiscal duty to issue electronic invoices. Its main customers are sport fishing stores in Europe and North America. To benefit from improved business processes that come with a modern ERP software, the warehouse, sales, and purchasing modules are also activated. In December 2019, yet another fiscal obligation led to the adoption of a telematic tax printer integrated with the ERP software vending interface to record sales in the company store.
In January 2020, the company’s digital innovation path carries on with the activation of the new e-commerce built into the ERP system and the shutdown of the previous website, which at the time generated only 10% of the company’s turnover, typically from end customers or fly-fishing clubs.
At the end of February 2020, with schools already closed, one day before the complete lockdown of all non-essential activities in the region, one of the partners called me. “Davide, we are in this situation: all our customers are closed or about to close; sport fishing, although an individual activity, is banned in Italy and several countries; we just received a lot of goods from suppliers, and we are all stuck at home. I don’t know how long we will be able to resist these conditions.”
I immediately convinced him to rush to the company warehouse before the lockdown to transfer all goods to an external logistic site that could stay operational. After that my advice was to invest in completing SEO and launching the new e-commerce website on the most receptive territories through a well targetd digital marketing project.
After two months of lockdown, at the end of April, the company had already recovered online its usual turnover, started benefit from consolidated direct control over sales, commercial policies, customers, and had closed new partnerships with retailers and new brands of products to be distributed. The winning digital strategy was a smart mix of content marketing on blogs, social media channels, newsletters, a pinch of advertising on Facebook, and a lot of digital customer care (via online chat and CRM). Everything was orchestrated by agile back-end management processes (goods replenishment, logistic operations and financial planning), all operated in home working. Always guided by intelligent analytical reports on web traffic and sales, the company’s staff had to jump through hoops to remotely manage logistics, couriers, and suppliers that were still open to satisfy the new abundant sales flow.
In this new and unexpected season, all digital innovation specialists are flaunting the effectiveness of an e-commerce strategy and digital internationalization of activities. The reason is simply that with the right digital innovation strategy, results really come.
Characters and performers of this Success Story in order of appearance: