Every company needs to periodically update its processes to keep up with the latest trends and technologies. This process is known as a digital transformation, and it’s particularly important for retail companies. After all, the retail industry is currently facing a crisis, pushing companies to try new tactics.
The global e-commerce industry is slated to rise above $4.8 billion by 2021, according to Statista, up from $2.8 billion in 2018. This shows just how lucrative the e-commerce industry is becoming, nearly doubling every three years. But in order to stay competitive in the modern digital work, retail companies—whether they are online-based or operate out of brick-and-mortar stores—need to migrate to digital in order to increase the speed and efficiency of their operations.
Let’s look at how undergoing a digital transformation in retail can give companies the edge they need to expand their customer base, increase earning potential and bolster brand value.
The Value of Trained Employees
A key element of a digital transformation is ensuring your workers understand the new infrastructure and can expertly leverage it. Machine learning algorithms can help your employees gather and analyze data, as the technology uses large datasets to unearth valuable insights. As such, your workers will have large amounts of data that can help them learn about your customers’ shopping habits, experiences and preferences. They can then use this data to improve the retail journey with personalized recommendations for customers.
A good developer will help your workers by teaching them how to tailor the retail experience to suit the needs of each customer. This can be done with smart algorithms that adjust each customer’s homepage—whether on an app or online—according to their shopping and browsing habits.
Data is a key part of any digital transformation, and ensuring your workers understand this will help propel your brand forward. Creating a well-oiled retail machine requires coordination, support and innovation geared towards improving the shopping experience.
The Importance of Mobile
More consumers are using their smartphones to make purchases, so creating a strong mobile strategy can make or break a retail company. There are a number of ways in which companies are leveraging mobile devices, including:
- Apps that link up to e-commerce sites: Such apps allow customers to easily shop on the go. Plus, you can send tracking updates on packages or include personalized recommendations via mobile notifications.
- More payment options: The ability to use alternative payment gateways, such as PayPal and Apple Pay, gives consumers more flexibility when completing their purchases. Whether your company is online or has a brick-and-mortar store, this flexibility may encourage more people to shop at your establishment.
- Augmented reality and other advanced technologies: Augmented reality in retail allows consumers to try out apparel items via virtual dressing rooms. This is particularly useful for e-commerce businesses since consumers can get an accurate idea of how a piece of clothing will fit them before ordering online.
These are just some of the ways in which retail companies can engage their customers through mobile devices. A good mobile strategy will increase the ease of making a purchase and create a more interactive shopping experience.
An Agile Digital Transformation
Agility is of the essence in the e-commerce world. After all, consumers now tend to expect instant results when shopping. In retail, agility refers to an increase in the speed at which a store’s business processes operate, including the speed of their manufacturing, logistical solutions and delivery speeds. By leveraging digital tools, retail giants such as Amazon have shortened the amount of time it takes for a package to arrive, thereby increasing customer satisfaction rates.
Companies such as Walmart have also added the option to buy an item online and pick it up in-store without waiting in line. Such flexibility is a huge draw for today’s busy customers, especially if your store can have the item ready for pickup in a short timeframe.
Another way in which retail businesses are becoming more agile is by using apps that map out their stores. For instance, Winco developed an app that shows customers the location of items within the store, making it easier for them to quickly find what they need. In some cases, a customer can even create a shopping list and the app will offer them the fastest route to get every item.
Consumer trends suggest that most people are interested in spending as little time shopping as possible. As such, customers appreciate being able to shop online and receive items rapidly.
Making the Most of a Digital Transformation in Retail
A digital transformation in retail ultimately consists of combining new technologies with the right team of workers in an efficient manner. The retail industry is all about the customer; you need to understand and cater to their shopping needs, preferences and habits. With a digital transformation, you can create more shopping options and improve convenience for your customers, which leads to increased engagement rates and a higher bottom line.
Is your retail business hoping to undergo a digital transformation? If so, the team at 7T can help. We can guide your company through a complete digital transformation, handling everything from cloud hosting to mobile strategy to analytics. We also offer services related to a host of cutting-edge technologies, including predictive analytics, augmented reality, blockchain and natural language processing.