Table of Contents
Digital innovations are disrupting the retail industry at an increasing rate. The rise of e-commerce has created new opportunities for online brands to sell directly to consumers.
But digital transformation goes beyond that and involves new ways of thinking about every facet of business processes and the customer experience.
It’s about creating a digital foundation for your company so that you can provide better services and experiences for customers.
If you want to become a leader and you want to play a key role in your industry, these are some things you should consider as soon as possible.
Step 1: Change your mindset
Business leaders in the retail field have traditionally seen their stores as the main way to interact with customers.
This was especially true for industries like apparel and accessories, which rely on visual merchandising.
But customer interactions have moved online in recent years. The new challenge is to figure out how to make these digital processes and interactions as seamless and customer-centred as possible.
If you want to be a leader in your industry, you need to change your mindset and embrace the digital world as an essential part of your business.
When you start the digital transformation, it’s important to focus on digital experiences as a core part of your retail strategy, not as something separate from your main business.
You want to create a digital infrastructure that supports your business, not distracts from it or makes it harder to achieve your goals.
As retailers, we know that our customers are increasingly shopping online, so why wouldn’t we want them to shop digitally?
If you look at the data, there’s no doubt that more people are buying online than ever before.
The problem is that many retailers still see e-commerce as a threat rather than an opportunity.
They think of it as a place where they lose control over pricing and inventory management.
And this leads to poor service and unhappy customers.
So instead of focusing on what you don’t do well, you should focus on what you do well.
Your goal shouldn’t be to compete against Amazon but build a brand that stands apart from others.
That means making sure that your website and mobile app work seamlessly together.
That means providing great customer support and ensuring that all your products are available across multiple channels.
And that’s why you need to offer unique products and services that set you apart from your competition.
Step 2: Build a digital-first culture.
Retailers are often organized in ways that were designed for the pre-digital era.
There may be silos between departments, with separate teams for stores, e-commerce, marketing, and customer service.
You need to rethink these organizational structures and create a more collaborative environment where teams work together to solve problems and improve customer experiences.
The organization should reflect customer needs and how they interact with your brand.
It should also support your core business strategy.
In other words, each team should have a clear mission and be empowered to solve problems.
And each team should have clear goals, metrics, and accountability.
Customer experience is the top priority, and the whole organization should move in that direction.
Digital transformation is changing how we work, live, shop, communicate and entertain ourselves.
Digital culture is not just about technology, it’s about the people who use it and how you communicate, collaborate, and innovate.
Technology is a tool to achieve your goals and build your brand. So whatever your organization looks like, digital transformation needs to be embedded in the organization’s culture.
Digital innovation is not just a technical challenge – it’s a cultural one too.
People must be willing to change their work and think to succeed with digital transformation. If they aren’t, then no amount of technology will help them succeed.
Step 3: Upgrade your digital capabilities.
Retailers have been investing more in digital business and capabilities in recent years.
To become a true digital leader, playing a major role in the market, you need modern digital infrastructure.
You need sophisticated systems built for the future, not the past.
You need to be able to move faster, create new products and services, and personalize the customer experience.
If you’re not yet at this point, you may want to consider a digital transformation initiative.
Planning this carefully is important to avoid disrupting your operations and impacting the customer experience.
But it’s also important to get started as soon as possible because the pace of change will only increase over time.
The good news is that there are many ways to start. You can build on your existing platform or take advantage of an existing platform.
Here are some options to consider:
Build from scratch. If you’ve got a blank slate, you might want to start with a cloud-based solution like Amazon Web Services (AWS).
Or choose a software-as-a-service (SaaS) provider such as Salesforce.com or Microsoft Dynamics 365.
Use an open source platform such as Magento, Shopify, Drupal or WordPress.
Choose a third-party vendor to manage your IT infrastructure.
Or, if you prefer to keep things simple, you could upgrade your current system.
Whatever option you decide upon, make sure you select the right partner.
A great partner will provide expertise in data analytics, artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotics, virtual reality, augmented reality, blockchain, cybersecurity, IoT, mobile apps, and much more.
They’ll also help you implement the latest technologies and ensure that everything works seamlessly across all channels.
Step 4: Identify your customer and build a personalized experience.
Retailers have long collected customer information through loyalty programs and other channels.
But they have been focused on transactional information – who bought what and when.
This information is still crucial. But it’s now supplemented by new types of data.
Retailers are increasingly collecting data on their customers’ identities and behaviour.
For example, retailers use artificial intelligence to analyze images of products gathered from the web to identify items and their characteristics.
They can use this information to identify the most popular items or those out of stock.
This information can be used to create a new, more personalized experience for customers.
Instead of asking them to choose between a few items, you can offer a personalized selection based on their actual needs.
This can improve the shopping experience for customers and create better financial outcomes for the retailer.
How do I know if my business has enough data?
The first step in building a data-driven strategy is understanding how much data you already have.
If you don’t have any data, start with the basics.
Ask yourself questions like:
What kind of data does my company collect? Does my company have access to customer data? Do we have access to product data? Is our data secure? Are we using it effectively? Can we combine different sources of data to gain insights into our customers?
Once you know where you stand, you can think about leveraging technology to capture more data and improve your customer experience.
Step 5: Take care of the core product and operational excellence.
Retailers often focus on new initiatives and technologies at the expense of core operational and product excellence capabilities.
This is especially common early in digital transformation when retailers invest in new digital capabilities.
But to be a true digital leader, you must take care of the basics.
You must ensure that your core products and services are excellent, delivered in stores or online.
You have to deliver consistent and reliable experiences across every channel.
This includes shipping, returns, product quality, range, and availability.
This is especially important because customers interact with retailers through various channels and devices and expect consistent and excellent experiences, regardless of the channel.
If they find something wrong, they will leave negative reviews.
If they don’t get what they want, they may not come back again.
So retailers must make sure their core operations are strong and well-maintained.
Retailers have been facing intense competition from online players for years.
Digital transformation can help retailers create better customer experiences and compete more effectively.
To transform your business, you must change your mindset, build a digital-first culture, and upgrade your digital capabilities.
You must also identify your customers and build a personalized experience to deliver tailored solutions. O
organization, product and operational excellence, and new initiatives must be consistent with digital transformation.
If you do all these things, you’ll be well positioned to transform your retail company into a digital leader.