Recently we launched our local Dubai office in partnership with luxury retailer Chalhoub Group to provide new-style digital transformation consulting throughout the Middle East (and North Africa) region.
While everybody is talking about the US & Asia, it’s more than interesting to understand what is happening in the Middle East and how they are quickly becoming a digital power house.
A quick illustration of the current state of what is happening in the UAE & the Middle East:
- 97% of the UAE have access to the worldwide web putting the UK and USA behind at 92% and 87%.
- Over 90% people in the United Arab Emirates carry a smartphone and use internet on hand held devices.
- The e-commerce market in UAE alone is projected to reach an astounding $2 billions by 2018, on a total of $7 billions worldwide.
- More than 40% of consumers have bought something online in the last month compared to the UK (26%).
- More than half of Middle East locals will purchase online only from local initiatives. This is why local platforms like Careem and Souq.com have become popular.
We have summarized more of these interesting examples below to illustrate the initiatives and approach within the Middle East region.
About Duval Union Consulting
We are new-style management consultants focusing on transforming and growing organizations in a digital-first world with offices in Europe and the Middle East. New-style? Co-created business strategy, custom-made transformation trajectories and actual experienced business advisors are only some of our differentiators and why clients love to work with us. We design the future of your business together.
Are traditional retailers a dying breed ? That is at least what some of them are starting to fear in sometimes desperate attempts to reinvent their businesses.
So what is the answer to the relentless competition with pure digital players who are scooping up more and more market share? Going digital? Investing in physical channels? Omnichannel?
In a recent keynote Jo Caudron gave at the Evolve Event at Google Belgium, he dived deeper in this pressing matter. You can check out a video (in Dutch) below the article.
To be on a par digitally with giants like Zalando or Amazon is simply not realistic. They have armies of developers at their disposal working on the constant improvement & innovation of their online platforms. Traditional retail would lose this battle before they even got started.
A kiddy corner and amazing coffee?
On the other side of the spectrum, a kiddy corner, groovy mood lights and an amazing cup of latte will not pull your customers back to your stores. Investing solely in physical channels results in a loss as well, taking into account that your customer are structurally visiting your stores less and less for fundamentally different reasons than ambiance.
Unfortunately, omnichannel also didn’t prove to be the all-in-one solution digital gurus had prophesied. It’s rather obvious that when I buy a piece of clothing online, my purchase will seamlessly be added to my offline loyalty card. This doesn’t add intrinsic value to my customer experience. It’s a given, customers expect it.
Omnichannel is the prerequisite to participate in the game. It doesn’t get you qualified for the Champions League.
The Answer is Hybrid
In the Keynote below (in Dutch) from the Evolve Event at Google Belgium, Jo Caudron, Co-founder of Duval Union Consulting, pitches the Hybrid Retail Model. This new strategic framework puts the emphasis on creating value and innovating on the bridges between online & offline, giving traditional retail a new competitive advantage against the Amazons of this world.
In short this means that you try to identify functions (we call them ‘hybrid hacks’) that are valuable to clients and that can only be delivered because there is a physical network of shops with real, experienced and customer-centric people working in them. So it is not just about relying on the legacy of the physical network to save you, it is all about using your shops and people as a unique differentiator because the digital players simply do not have one themselves.
This can translate into anything that customers find relevant and enhances their overall experience. An example will clarify what we mean. If you have a product that is complicated (think consumer electronics), that you want to taste (think food, luxury items, …) or that you want to fit (think fashion) you can easily bridge the gap between online inspiration and information to expert advice in a shop nearby. This way you have dozens of showrooms nearby any customer, the only thing you have to do is identify the doubt or need online (maybe via chat) and fluidly push people from their online journey to the offline continuation and closure. As simple as this example might seem, no traditional retailer is doing this in a structural way. If the hack we just described is a USP towards your customers, just remember it is something Amazon simply can not deliver. You win.
Depending on the kind of retail business you are in, you can come up with dozens of functions that could be relevant hybrid hacks.
Step 1: fix your digital capabilities by scanning, benchmarking & copying your digital rivals.
Step 2: innovate your physical points of sale in light of the Hybrid Retail Model.
Step 3: build functional bridges between online & offline, a Hybrid space that digital native players simply can’t touch.
Please contact us if you have any questions, we’re happy to help you! Send us an e-mail here!
In 2014, Schoenen Torfs, Belgian family-owned shoe retailer, asked us to guide them in their Digital Transformation.
With transformation come a lot of challenges, so we sat down with Wouter Torfs, CEO at Torfs, to talk about their Digital Transformation process.
Yesterday, Terzake covered the rise of electric cars. Founder of Duval Union Consulting, Jo Caudron shared his opinion on this hot topic and what he believes the long term impact will really be.
Watch the video (in Dutch), the segment about Electric cars starts at 27:12.
Things are accelerating fast in the automotive industry: For years now, petrol cars are being sold more often than diesel cars. Volvo announced that as of 2019, it will only be selling hybrid or electric cars and Tesla is launching its Model 3 this week.
Model 3 passed all regulatory requirements for production two weeks ahead of schedule. Expecting to complete SN1 on Friday
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) 3 July 2017
However, electric cars are hardly a revolution. The first years of Tesla don’t represent what makes it such a transformative company or car. The first cars were just normal cars with an electric motor. The real revolution will be the self-driving car, which will demand new business models to be designed. It will offer a real solution to our mobility issues of today.
Think about it: A car by itself, electrical or not, is an inefficient product with a low return on investment, which takes up too much space. It’s expensive, too many people have one, it pollutes our environment and most of the time it is standing still, be it in front of your house or in traffic. Aside from the pollution aspect, electric cars solve none of the other issues. Self-driving cars do.
The real revolution will be that self-driving cars will reshape the entire notion of ownership. From every person wanting or needing a car, this will shift to every person looking for a mobility solution. There will no longer be a need to own a car, only the need to use it.
The euphoria about electric cars could quickly turn into a depression once people realize the huge impact this will have on the automotive industry. The industry must redesign its way of doing business. They will no longer be able to sell products to individuals and will have to find ways to sell mobility services instead.
And that is just the beginning, as the impact on the automotive industry will have a snowball effect on other industries as well. What will be the future of public transportation when we will have a self-driving car at our disposal anytime anywhere? What will the impact be on insurance when we no longer need omnium insurance, nor any private car insurance for that matter?
On the bright side, there will be less accidents, which means less damage and less injuries which will have a positive impact on our health industry. And with our hands and minds free while driving, new applications will arise to keep us busy while on route, opening up opportunities for the entertainment and education industries.
Many organisations will need to adapt their strategy to this future, challenging times ahead!
Amazon recently dropped 2 bombshells: Its $13.7B acquisition of Whole Foods and the $9B offer for Slack. They came at a welcome time for us, because we were in the middle of creating this Amazon case.
In all of our research and Trendwatching, Amazon is one of the most fascinating organisations we have ever seen. It employs unique strategies according to highly regarded philosophies, which has lead it to unprecedented success.
We believe that every organisation, large or small, has much to learn from Amazon. If you’re in any kind of commerce or logistics, you absolutely must pay attention to Amazon. In The Amazon Case we’ll explain you why they are winning and how they are doing it.
Discover the impact of digital transformation and how challengers are putting pressure on the incumbent insurance companies.
In this E-book we discuss how the insurance industry is evolving. We discover the impact of digital transformation and discuss how challengers are putting pressure on the incumbent insurance companies.
It is not our aim to write yet another specialist analysis of the insurance market, nor to provide an exhaustive overview of all insurtech companies. What we would like to achieve is for key business people in theinsurance world to understand the mechanisms behind digital disruption in their industry. These transformational mechanisms are not unique to the insurance trade and have played in many other industries before: entertainment, music and media; retail; (retail) banking, food, travel, photography, HR and so many other sectors that have already been impacted by digital disruption.
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Jo’s view on agility and how it shapes culture, work processes and methods, and states of mind.
The Agility Effect interviews business and opinion leaders about agility and how it shapes culture, work processes & methods and states of mind.
Founding partner Jo Caudron was number 2 in row for an interview about agility. For Jo, agility is less about methods or processes than about an attitude, driven by a vision and an approach.
Watch the interview as a video below or read a wrap-up.
Read a wrap-up of the interview here:
What is “agility”?
Agility is a way of doing things. For me, agility means how people and people within companies should stand in the world, how they should look at their challenges and face solutions.
To be agile, it is a goal in itself or does it respond to specific problems?
It is partly a goal, because it is an attitude. Every company that wants to make it in this fast-changing economy, should have “agility” has a primary part of its DNA.
What are the barriers to agility in a business?
Willingness is key. If the willingness is there, you do not even have to learn the method, you will do it yourself. If you do not have the willingness, then whatever process you implement, whatever tool you use, you will not learn to be agile.
What are the propagation factors? The accelerators?
The leadership needs to really believe in it, the teams below the leadership needs to believe in it. If so, this will start to work for itself, people will be convinced, they will believe that agility, flexibility and responsiveness is the way to go for the future.
Willingness is key! If the willingness is there, you do not even have to learn the method, you will do it yourself!
Who are the agile personalities or agile compagnies that inspire you?
So many companies, from google and facebook and to so many others, who, even if they might be big today, started with a small team of people, doing things in an agile way.
What lessons have you learned from your many experiences?
Just keep on going, even if you fail. Try again, fail again, eventually you will succeed.
What are the brakes you have identified for entrepreneurship? To agility?
From the crazy entrepreneur with a crazy idea to the established manager, a lot of people fail. Why? Because they don’t see that they need to evolve along the way.
You advise and accompany companies in their digital transformation? Who are the most agile: customers or consultants?
New generations of small consultancy firms entering the market with there new, often more agile, methods. I should hope that my firm, Duval Union Consulting, works like that. When we look at the big existing consulting companies, they are often as inert as the big corporates they work for.
Just keep on going, even if you fail. Try again, fail again, eventually you will succeed.
As a digital specialist, what is your appreciation of the level of digital transformation in Europe and around the world?
In general, there’s more creativity and start-up energy in other regions, such as the US. But when you look at the clients’ side, the companies that have to transform, I think we’re all too slow. We might have more challengers in certain regions, but the incumbents all face the same risks with regards to transforming.
Watch the interview here:
Whether you’re a startup or an existing company launching a new venture, you have to find a way to make money. When thinking about your business model, you need to have both a ’tomorrow strategy’ and a ’North Star vision’ of where you want to end up.
The cashflow or the gold?
A couple of months ago I launched a new startup together with 3 friends called Speakersbase, which is a platform connecting speakers and event organisers. It’s a dual-sided market place needing traction from both parties to make it fly. There are many ways to monetize a market place, but it’s challenging to focus.
During one of our brainstorm meetings around the business model one of my partners, David Bintein, pointed out that we had to figure out how to combine the short term and long term vision to create and capture value. Meaning we had to think about ‘the cashflow’ and ‘the gold’: how are we going to make money today to fund what will make us successful tomorrow? It struck me because it’s a crucial metaphor as many companies are focusing either on one or the other: the cashflow or the gold.
Many startups are golddiggers, they focus on the big long term value they hope to create in the future, when everything goes according to plan. While doing so they forget about how to actually run the business on the short term and how to generate the necessary resources to go forward. So they turn quickly to investors, giving away too much of their company early on.
Corporates on the other hand are mostly focussed on the short term value, profits and cashflow. As a result, they forget to focus on the long term which is one of the reasons they are being disrupted by challengers in the market with new and bolder propositions. If an idea is not bringing in short term revenues, it’s not fitting their spreadsheet. They leave a lot of future value on the table as their eyes are only on the cashflow and not on the gold further down the road.
The magic is in the combination
Whether you’re a startup or an existing company, think about how to find the cashflow for today and where you will find the gold that will make you successful in the end. You need to generate the short term resources to build the long term future you believe in.
The Cashflow: what is the most easy to sell solution that you can offer which is fulfilling a concrete need for someone in the market? It doesn’t need to be unique, it needs to be useful.
The Gold: what is the unique value that will make your product or service incontournable and successful in the end? It needs to be a big ambition.
The magic is in the combination. You need to generate the short term resources to build the long term future you believe in.
For Speakersbase we have created dynamic event- and company pages that we can sell to organisations in the short term (The Cashflow), while we believe that the real gold is in mining and matching the data of the speakers and event organisers (The Gold).
Let me know what you think, follow me on Twitter via @dadovanpeteghem or reach out via firstname.lastname@example.org.
In a time where everybody talks about technology and putting the customer first, many organisations forget about taking their core asset on this journey of transformation: their people.
If people don’t know your vision forward, fear will rule over opportunity resulting in a status quo and a general lack of enthusiasm and inevitably good people will leave the company. Additionally, if you don’t help people to develop the necessary skills, your organisation might become obsolete. Become future proof by putting your employees first.
As a market company it can be more challenging to innovate, due to dependency on the headquarters and the local distribution network. With respect to both these stakeholders, we helped Renault Trucks create their future vision, strategy and a concrete roadmap of projects to transform and grow the organisation.
We sat down with Johan Saveniers, the Commercial Trucks Director at Renault Trucks, to talk about their transformation process so far.
Check out the full interview below:
Want to start your transformation too? Contact us email@example.com