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Commerce During the Coronavirus – What Businesses can Do Now, Next, and for the Future – Part 3

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This three-part series focuses on what digital commerce teams can do to shore up operations and remain effective right now, over the next few months, and in the mid-term future. Obviously, times are tough and every organization has unique challenges, so not everything below might apply, but sometimes the most stressful situations result in the most effective innovations. As your customers have more time at home and online, digital is where they are.

Part 3 – What To Do for the FUTURE

It’s been a wild week, to say the least. Daily, sometimes hourly, changes continue to impact the way we do business, or in some cases, fight to keep the business we have. Hopefully the immediate actions you’ve taken in your commerce business have allowed you to leverage existing digital capabilities and augment emerging ones to keep things going. Your team has been sprinting, now it’s time to think about the marathon ahead.

In Part 1 and Part 2 of this series, I discussed how digital commerce teams could mitigate the potential impacts to the business during this crisis. Now that you’ve determined your initial response approach, it’s time to think about the future. As I mentioned in my previous post, now is not the time to ‘wait and see.’ Strategy is more important than ever right now. In your commerce business, there is real opportunity to safeguard the future business as well as formulate new strategies to respond to emerging customer behaviors and expectations. Where to start?

Don’t Throw Out Your Current Roadmap

There might be temptation to take one look at your existing roadmap and blow it up. Don’t do that. Yet.

  • Evaluate each initiative in the roadmap against what you know today. If they are still valid, obviously keep them – BUT think about budget earmarked. Is there potential for greater upside if you can invest more? For example, if you were planning on increasing endless aisle capabilities, is there potential to add features now?
  • If it doesn’t exist already, create a swim lane dedicated to team enablement. This should cover all aspects of ‘people,’ ‘process,’ and ‘technology’ in service of your team being able to amp up their ability to deliver on customer experience post-crisis. This might include investment in better team workflow tools or refinement and expansion of DevOps. Use what you’ve learned in the recent scramble to help categorize and prioritize what team needs bubbled to the top.
  • Take that list from your ‘Art of the Possible‘ and plot out how you can replace these new initiatives with items in your roadmap that just don’t make sense or matter any more, OR…
  • Blow it up. It might be the case that in the last few weeks you’ve discovered opportunities for significant new business models which will require totally new operating models. Now is the time to embrace that change. Create a ‘shadow roadmap’ you can begin to socialize with your peers and your leadership that reflects this new way of thinking.

aaS is Real

Many commerce businesses have been hesitant to rock the internal boat by fully migrating their commerce infrastructure and operations to cloud solutions. Prioritize and lobby for a greater share of budget that WILL come to bite the bullet and migrate whatever you can to free up your team to focus on what really matters in this new world. This might mean some re-skilling and team composition shifts, but now is the time to set the business up for future success while taking some solid business continuity measures. Think about software, platforms, and infrastructure to identify where the greatest opportunities are for migrations and build these into your revised roadmap. Not sure where to start? Here’s a great primer. 

Don’t Forget About the Basics

What won’t change? You run a digital commerce business that depends on delivering superior customer experience from acquisition to advocacy. The principles you used last quarter will still hold true next quarter, regardless of changes in how you might be executing against them. Organizations that remained focused on providing good customer experience now will come out ahead when we emerge from this crisis. I truly believe an outcome of this crisis will be clarity in what your customers want and how to best deliver it to them. All else (growth, success, happiness) will follow.

Perficient is here to help. Reach out to us if you would like more information or guidance on reviewing your digital commerce strategies during this crisis. We’ve also created a collection of guiding content that businesses can refer to during this crisis.

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Kim Williams-Czopek

Kim Williams-Czopek is a Director of Digital Strategy at Perficient. She’s been a senior leader in several digital agencies, digital product companies, and served as VP of Digital on the brand side. She specializes in customer experience, commerce, digital responsibility, and digital business strategies.

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