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Looking to Avoid the Dreaded ‘Laggard’ Label?

Ask yourself these 3 questions

We know that when it comes to adopting new technologies, being first is far less important than a focus on practical performance. If you rush to implement the latest trend or buzzword, you risk creating more problems than you solve and tanking your ROI—witness the cautionary tale of Sears and that historic brand’s fall from ecommerce pioneer to irrelevance, due in part to its mad dash toward automation. But this puts brands in a challenging spot, since for true laggards—say, the last 20 percent in their sectors to adapt—it may be impossible to catch up.

Vanessa Cartwright
Chief Executive Officer at Astound North America

At Astound, our strategic approach to helping clients strike this delicate balance boils down to three key questions: 

  1. Are you focusing on consumer behavior first and foremost? We know from experience that focusing on how consumers behave in response to emerging technologies is the foundation of any smart strategy for implementing them. To this end, our teams across Technology and Experience Strategy always seek to identify evolving consumer behaviors prior to an implementation. We conduct customer research, derive insights, and develop customer journeys that identify patterns and then assess new technology in the context of those trends and their business impact.

  2. Can the new technology in question address an existing challenge? You don’t want to invent a use case for a technology just because it’s the hot new thing—you want to identify the existing problem the technology can address. When start-up GoodwillFinds, a recently incorporated thrift D2C marketplace licensed by Goodwill International Industries, wanted to scale its operations online, one obvious challenge was the fact that the products offered by the revered nonprofit would all be one-of-a-kind and would sell out quickly. So when we built the brand’s ecommerce platform using Salesforce Commerce Cloud, we used our Launch360: Storefront accelerator to customize and support a site featuring more than 100,000 unique items, remove items quickly after every purchase, and refresh multiple times daily. If an existing solution could have solved the problem more efficiently, we would have gone that route—but it just so happened that an innovative new offering saved the day. 

  3. Will your use of this technology make you stand out from the crowd? Your competitors are all engaged in the same deliberations over which new tech bandwagon to jump on, so it’s crucial to create innovations that set your brand apart. When we shepherded a replatform for home design brand FLOR, we knew the industry faced exceptionally high expectations for a standout customer experience. We chose to implement Page Designer, a proprietary technology that enables rich storytelling and ancillary content and provides easy and instantaneous page updating. This, in turn, allowed us to reconfigure and improve the brand’s online Design Studio, a true differentiator in the marketplace.

More recently, we find ourselves developing AI-supported chatbot protocols focused on the Health & Life Sciences industry and leveraging the latest analytics tools to drive demand for an adored national adult beverage brand. Not because of a FOMO-driven desire to implement every shiny new solution, but because we’ve honed in on the key considerations noted above and identified these actions as the right things to do for the business, right now, to drive revenue. 

Need our guidance on doing the right thing for your business, right now? Reach out today


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