Digital Transformation

How a leading online retailer transformed its e-commerce experience with Fortude’s digital maturity assessment


How many of your favorite brands and retailers have made the shift to e-commerce in the past ten years?

Consumers are fast ditching shopping trips that take up several hours of their day in favor of a single-click “add to cart” experience that allows them to complete their shopping trip from anywhere, at any time. Retailers have also been going all in on this direct-to-consumer boom.

Similarly, for this US-based retailer, going digital was a no-brainer. However, in order to realize the value of digital transformative initiatives, the company recognized that they had to modernize their tech infrastructure to ensure uninterrupted business operations and simplify processes, paving the way for business growth. The retailer realized that they had to confront their challenges head-on and revamp their digital transformation strategy. The journey towards digital transformation began with a simple yet powerful step: Engaging in an honest dialogue about their pain points and aspirations through a series of Fortude discovery workshops.

The challenge: Inefficient workflows and outdated tech creates a drag on retail growth

Fortude’s digital advisory team sought to thoroughly understand the current state of the client, their pain points and business workflows, via several immersive workshops and candid discussions. The engagement revealed over 60 pain points which were driving the retailer’s need for transformation. These pain points were exhaustively  analyzed and categorized by the Fortude team to ensure that all challenges were addressed in the digital transformation strategy. The primary areas of focus for improvement within the retailer’s operations included:

  • System modernization: Recognizing the need for system upgrades, it was identified that transition from outdated legacy systems to a more efficient and reliable infrastructure would mitigate the risk of system failures and data loss associated with outdated technology.
  • Integration enhancements: To streamline operations and improve data accessibility, the retailer sought to address integration challenges among its systems and platforms. Existing systems required to be seamlessly integrated, to eliminate fragmented data and manual processes. By fostering seamless integration, they aimed to eliminate data silos and manual transfer processes, enhancing operational efficiency and scalability.
  • Customer experience optimization: It was revealed that by improving website functionality and real-time inventory updates, the retailer can minimize out-of-stock instances, thereby enhancing the overall customer experience, boosting customer satisfaction and loyalty. This ultimately helped strengthen their brand reputation.
  • Streamlined reporting processes: The retailer recognized the importance of efficient data reporting for informed decision-making. Transitioning to automated reporting systems will eliminate manual errors and provide real-time insights and improve management visibility into inventory performance, facilitating more informed strategic decisions.
  • Strengthened cybersecurity measures: Understanding the criticality of data security, the efforts towards robust cybersecurity measures were prioritized, along with a thorough assessment of their current state and the roadmap. Strengthening cybersecurity protocols and implementing regular security updates will safeguard sensitive information, bolstering customer trust and loyalty in the retailer’s brand.
  • Improved inventory management: Delays in inventory synchronization highlighted opportunities for streamlining inventory management processes. Implementing real-time inventory tracking solutions will ensure accurate stock availability information, minimizing order fulfillment delays and improving customer satisfaction.
  • Operational efficiency: By digitizing and automating manual processes such as gift voucher processing and vendor invoice management, the operations would be streamlined, improving the overall efficiency. These efforts would reduce administrative burden, minimize processing time, and optimize resource utilization, ultimately driving operational excellence and financial accuracy.

During the Discovery phase, Fortude delved deep into the retailer’s operations, uncovering hidden inefficiencies and untapped potential in their current digital landscape, from modernization of outdated infrastructure to non-systematic forecasting methods.

Yet, within each challenge lay an opportunity for growth. Ask yourself: What untapped potential lies within your business? What obstacles stand in your way?

The process: A comprehensive digital maturity assessment to reimagine e-commerce

In our comprehensive digital maturity assessment, we explored six crucial dimensions shaping the retailer’s digital journey. Fortude’s analysis uncovered areas where current initiatives fell short in delivering value to the business. Here’s a glimpse of our findings for each of the dimensions:

  • Customer: The assessment highlighted a pressing need for a holistic digital initiative to enhance customer experiences and drive business growth. Customer interactions, on both traditional and digital channels, required monitoring and support for improved customer satisfaction. Usability across multiple channels needed to be streamlined for more consistent review ratings, and to reinforce trust and perception.
  • Strategy: Gaps in strategic planning and responsibility delegation emerged as a significant challenge. Our assessment emphasized the necessity for a comprehensive review of strategic planning and responsibility delegation to effectively align with broader business goals. Strengthening risk management and compliance frameworks also emerged as crucial focal points for future growth.
  • Technology: Our analysis uncovered the requirement for a close alignment between digital platforms and the business model, to eliminate inefficiencies and security concerns. From scattered data management to limited IT resources, addressing these challenges is essential to enhance operational efficiency and security measures.
  • Operations: We also found that there was a requirement for the digital setup to be closely integrated with day-to-day operations. This could potentially eliminate fragmented workflows and capture missed opportunities for efficiency gains. Clear processes for managing changes and IT services were needed. Realtime insights need to be supported with automated alerts, and simplifying processes would help improve efficiency and scalability.
  • People and Organization: Our assessment also highlighted areas for enhancing the organization’s human and organizational aspects to better integrate with digital systems. From defining leadership roles in digital strategy to empowering employees at all levels, there was a need for clearer vision and skill development.
  • Data: The assessment highlighted opportunities to improve data management processes, through better governance measures and alignment of KPIs with business strategy. Enhancing data quality assurance and leveraging tools like a BI dashboard for better insights emerged as key priorities for improved decision-making and value realization.

This detailed findings of Fortude’s digital maturity assessment not only revealed the complexities and interrelated nature of a company’s digital landscape and pain points, but also helped the retailer identify areas for improvement and growth across the six dimensions.

The outcome: A winning digital transformation strategy and roadmap, crafted in collaboration with our specialized partner network

No journey towards transformation is solitary. Recognizing the complexity of the task at hand, we engaged specialized partners who brought their unique perspectives to chart a course towards transformation. Together, we crafted a comprehensive digital transformation strategy and a roadmap that addressed the retailer’s immediate concerns, while laying the groundwork for long-term growth.

Fortude’s recommendations spanned various dimensions, including information security standards, digital ecosystem integration, digital marketing strategy, and business continuity planning, to ensure that the retailer can implement the strategy in a sustainable manner.

  • Remediation of high-priority areas: This included prioritizing infrastructure upgrades, establishment of security practices, enhancements to the digital marketing strategy (including revamping of the website and the social media campaign strategy), training of IT users, and simplifying workflows.
  • IT transformation of critical business systems: Our recommendation was to implement a fully integrated digital ecosystem, including ERP, CRM and e-commerce, and enhancing the network infrastructure and minimizing complexities.
  • Business growth and continuity enablement: Establishing information security policies, a business continuity plan, IT organizational structure, and integrated service management.
  • Operational success and user adoption: Facilitating digital adoption through organizational change management and talent management initiatives.
  • Implementing information security standards: Setting minimum security standards with a clear roadmap for achieving higher levels of security.
  • Focusing on customer lifetime value: Prioritizing strategies aimed at enhancing customer lifetime value and loyalty as opposed to the current sales-based approach.

The roadmap laid out during the discovery phase serves as a blueprint for future action. Armed with a clear vision and actionable insights, the retailer is now well-prepared to navigate the complexities of implementation. The Fortude assessment sets the stage for long-term success and allows the retailer to explore automation opportunities and implement advanced technologies for inventory management.

In the world of e-commerce, transformation isn’t just a choice, but a necessity. By embracing digital transformation as a journey rather than a destination, businesses can navigate the complexities of the market landscape and emerge stronger and more resilient than ever before. Are you ready to embark on your own digital transformation journey?

Connect with Fortude’s Digital Advisory team to understand how you can get started on your complimentary digital maturity pulse assessment today: