The retail industry is constantly changing to keep up with customer demands. Today, customers expect much more from their shopping experiences than ever before with the addition of digital channels. From social media, email, phone to chat there are so many ways to engage with customers.
In this article, we'll discuss how digital channels will continue to unlock success for retailers going forward and what should be kept in mind as digital transformation strategies become more advanced over time.
Adopt The Digital Transformation Strategy Mindset
When you hear digital transformation, you might think 'buzzword.' However, digital transformation is more than just a buzzword. It's important that businesses don't underestimate the impact digital technologies have on their industry and instead prepare themselves for future opportunities.
We know that customers today have higher expectations than ever before and they want companies to not only know them but provide them with a personalized digital shopping experience. But, as digital channels become more advanced over time, customers will expect even more. For that reason, it's important to develop digital transformation strategies and prepare for the future of retail now.
A digital strategy is only one part of digital transformation. When executed properly (and objectively), digital strategies can lead you and your company to new opportunities and growth in the retail space which may even require additional resources down the road.
In 2022, we'll have moved beyond digital commerce to see digital retail being integrated into our lives even more so than it already has been since Amazon first debuted their original virtual store back in 1995. As technology continues to advance at an exponential rate, so too should our methods of thinking about how we interact with digital retail environments in an increasingly digital world.
Adapt The Customer Experience Through Innovation
It truly is the companies that are able to harness digital transformation strategies in order to connect with their customers through digital platforms, after all, who will continue to stay atop of digital retail trends for 2022 and beyond.
Companies Who Provide Consumer Value Seamlessly Across Touchpoints
Take a look at Nordstrom. They were one of the first brick-and-mortar retailers to utilize mobile apps for shopping purposes which has helped them not only increase customer loyalty but also drive up digital sales year over year.
Additionally, take a look at Home Depot who has embraced the digital realm via its powerful app and online store. In fact, over 60% of its sales come from Home Depot digital channels. How does Home Depot do it? They utilize digital and mobile tools and strategies (i.e., digital signage, beacon technology, digital receipts, augmented reality apps) to make the digital experience seamless for consumers by engaging them with product information and offering instant savings on items they could purchase in store or online.
Lastly, Starbucks. A company who has stood the test of time and continues to successfully engage with its audience through digital channels. As digital initiatives like mobile payments and rewards programs become more prevalent, Starbucks is at the forefront of digital innovation with a quarter (26%) of sales coming from their app alone. They will need to continue innovating on digital strategy to stay ahead of future consumer demands.
Align With Products & Services Leaders
When introducing new initiatives like a transformation strategy the ability to deliver solutions based on consumer insights is critical. From a strategic standpoint, there must be a culture in which developing business value must, in the end, be customer-centric.
Business Tools & Research
Digital tools and digital customer experiences allow for a better understanding of customers and how they shop. Understanding digital customer behaviors and motivation is the first step to digital transformation success strategy.
Employers that drive digital transformation across their organizations integrate digital knowledge into all aspects of their operation, from supply chain management to marketing; from product development to service design; and from business operations to employee training. Similarly, digital businesses must build an internal culture that encourages digital thinking at every level of the enterprise, allowing employees – both in-store and corporate – to work together seamlessly across departments and with partners.
Successful digital enterprises deploy technology platforms that support agile processes throughout the enterprise (i.e., multiple development languages and frameworks supported by continuous integration). An agile organization that operates on the cloud to produce real-time data can better serve digital consumers.
Retail digital enterprises do more than simply embrace digital technology; they use digital technology to create a winning customer experience across all digital touchpoints. The addition of mobile functionality, for example, is key to enhancing the in-store shopping experience by enabling ecommerce techniques such as price matching and instant coupons that are available to online shoppers at the point-of-sale.
The increasing emphasis on omni-channel retailing has also changed how the industry needs to design its business models. By leveraging digital technology and personalization capabilities, retail digital enterprises can help a customer navigate the retail world more seamlessly than ever before.
Embrace Digital To Stay Relevant In Today's Market
With retail digital transformation trends continuing to change exponentially, it's important that businesses embrace such changes in order to remain relevant within today's competitive marketplace. As mentioned earlier, retailers need to continue honing their omnichannel efforts through digital customer engagements - be it through digital channels such as social media, eCommerce websites or mobile devices.
Though this may seem like a daunting task at first glance, rest assured there is plenty of help out there in the form of digital transformation tools and even agencies. When utilizing real-time data, prioritizing efficiency and focusing on the customer journey products and services innovation and creativity can flourish.