Over the last 3-4 years, the retail industry has been grappling with digital disruption. Whether one has succeeded or struggled to adapt, there’s no debate that the pace of change won’t slow down any time soon.
The key is to recognize the challenges and seek the many opportunities of implementing a true digital transformation. The retailers that do so will be able to not only compete, but will profit in this chaotic marketplace.
However, even the most established retail brands are still missing key elements in their digitization process. They may be investing to improve processes like checkout and loss prevention, but they have yet to see the full potential of these new technologies.
A successful digital transformation strategy will include investments in all elements that create value. It will expand resources for digitizing the company’s operations and develop multiple revenue streams. It will require technology investments in data, security, the mobile experience, and other areas that will spark future growth.
While technology is the obvious choice for investment, retailers can’t forget about doing more for their employees. To perform at peak levels, employees require digital collaboration tools and customer insights. They need to be equipped with insights that will enhance the customer experience, be it online or in the store. This is crucial, because retailers have historically invested in creating delightful customer experiences, but often ignore the value of investing in employee productivity.
At a high level, retailers must think of their digital transformation in these buckets:
– Implement digital technology that boosts existing capabilities or processes
– Distinguish the brand with unique digital services for customers
– Disrupt the specific retail segment with new experiences and business models
To manifest all of the above, retailers should invest in essential digital platforms including data, security, connectivity and the cloud. These architectures will allow other digital capabilities to flourish.
But if retailers either delay or refuse to make these investments, they may never be able to make up ground against competitors who have seen the light and are capturing customer loyalty. That’s something you might never win back, no matter what you transform.