If you need convincing that digitalisation is here to stay, take a trip to your local shopping mall. What you’ll see is a range of retailers selling everything from handbags to hamburgers experimenting with digital technologies in an attempt to respond to changing customer demands and meet their modern expectations.
You’ll see concept stores that use tech to offer customers a more engaging experience. You’ll see digital information boards to help shoppers get around without having to consult an information desk. Because as much as 90% of pre-purchase research happens online, and the same percentage of these searches happen while people are in store, it’s likely that you’ll see people scrolling through their mobile devices searching for information about their next buy.
With all of this in mind, what are a few things retailers should do ensure their digitalisation journey is a success? Here’s a list of dos and don’ts:
#1 DO ensure your digitalisation efforts make commercial sense. If you spend exorbitant amounts of money putting smart mirrors into your change rooms or implementing automated checkout systems without a commercially viable monetisation strategy, you’re unlikely to get the desired return on your investment.
#2 DON’T be afraid of radical change. It’s happening. Retailers used to walk into a store, buy something and leave. Today, some customers want to shop online and then fetch their purchases from the store. Others still want to touch and feel the products in the store and then have the products delivered to their homes. Modern retailers need to have the options available to suit these changing buyer preferences.
#3 DO think of technology as an enabler. But only when it is implemented properly. If every different department in the store goes off and buys a different solution, it’ll be far harder to bring all of these insights together. Disconnected processes lead to a fractured view of data. Digitialisation is intended to make processes simpler, faster and hassle free.
#4 DO consider the blurring of borders between digital and physical experiences. Enabled by the Internet of Things, many retail stores at the forefront of digitalisation are offering immersive experiences using virtual and augmented reality.
#5 DON’T underestimate the importance of personalisation. This means accepting that your customers may be different from other customers. Use all of the information you have gathered about your customers from various touch points to tailor offers based on individual needs and preferences.
#6 In line with the point above, DON’T become too data driven, or so data dependent that you lose sight of other important things. You can have all the data in the world, but if your staff are not properly trained or your products don’t do what you say they’ll do, you’ll see little return from using this information. Data should be seen as an enabler but not a guarantee of commercial success.
Ultimately, the digitalisation of retail is all about moving from a product/service-centric approach to a customer-centric approach. This is all about collecting customer data, turning that data into insights and then using these insights to act strategically. Retailers who fail to do so, run the risk of losing out. To access more insights like these, visit our blog here. Or you can subscribe to our monthly newsletter by completing the form below.