Retail has been through a rapid digital transformation over the last couple of years. Even brands with ecommerce sites before covid had to up their game as they battled for selling space. With all the extra choice online and the physical retailers fighting back with in-store experiences, consumers have more retail options than ever. International retail trends lean towards old school and emerging tech which equates to fast information at your fingertips. Geo-location, QR codes, AI driven algorithms and the magnificent Metaverse are driving retail both in-store and online.
So how can you ensure that your digital transformation provides a memorable experience that keeps the customers coming back?
What’s your aim?
‘Omnichannel’ is a term used in ecommerce and retail to describe a business strategy that aims to provide a seamless shopping experience across all channels, including in store, mobile, and online. That could mean providing the consumer with the same inventory, pricing, and promotions across all channels, or it could mean providing a unique experience depending on how customers choose to interact with your brand.
‘Phygital’ is the fancy combination of ‘physical’ and ‘digital’. This consists of implementing e-commerce or AR and VR trends inside a store to create a more interactive and alluring customer experience. However, to truly achieve this, your strategy should include:
- Interaction with technology as well as with a brand and its products. More and more global brands are looking towards these exciting new ways of connecting consumers with their brand.
- Immersive experience, to ensure that the customers become an integral part of the in-store experience. Experiential retail is here to stay, so excite and delight your customers to give them a reason to shop in your physical store.
- Immediacy, allowing the consumer the choice regarding how their order gets fulfilled based on their needs. This should also enable the right messaging at the right time to keep them fully informed in a personalised way.
Be clear on your digital transformation aim or brand strategy. Think about what your customer needs from you and how much you can achieve with the people, finances and time that you have.
What’s the experience like?
Regardless of whether your customer is shopping in-store or online, have you thought about the customer experience? Have you plotted all the little interactions that they have, from looking up your opening times online to payment- is it seamless, is it easy and frictionless?
To really test your customer experience online and in-store you need to actually ask your customers what they think. You might ‘think’ that your new chat-bot is adding to the experience but is it just frustrating your customer and pushing them towards your competitor?
How many of you research online and then shop in-store? The simplicity of giving customers visibility into which stores have a given product in stock, helps them avoid wasted trips and thus improving their overall shopping experience. Most of these customers then go on to make additional unplanned in-store purchases when picking up in-store.
Likewise, many more consumers browse our physical stores to touch and feel but then leave to order in the comfort of their home. Seamless, memorable shopping needs to work both ways in this new digital age. Ensure that the experiences are hyper-personalised so that the customer feels valued at every stage of their journey.
And remember that up-selling, alternatives and recommendations are not exclusive of one single shopping stream.
What’s your supply like?
There is a long list of global events that have impacted the retail supply chain over the last few years; Brexit, Covid, that ship stuck in the Suez Canal and the invasion of Ukraine. Nonetheless, you can’t focus on what you don’t have- that won’t make you money!
Are you utilising the supply you do have to ensure that your customers get what they need, when they need it? The recent digital transformation hasn’t just impacted the customer facing end of retail, it has ensured that our supply chain is smarter than ever too.
Whether you have an automated stock replenishment system in-store or a digital ordering system across your brand, it’s only ever as good as the data it is supplied with. How far ahead are you predicting demand and calculating the supply you need? Being confident about the data you have and being able to read it and act on it in a timely manner is just as important as a specific supplier having a specific product at a specific time.
The digital transformation that retail is going through is set to continue, so don’t be naïve enough to settle with what you have. Just like you’d re-dress a mannequin or re-arrange brands in store to excite and delight your physical customer, your digital presence must evolve too!
For more information please contact Melissa Moore at email@example.com.