Digital ubiquity in retail has put the customer in the driver’s seat. They can now carry out online market research in between meetings, check out product reviews in digital forums, compare prices from a smartphone while shopping and share shopping experiences on his or her social media page. And throughout this buying process, the customer is free to choose any channel in any possible stage. What’s more complex, is that the journey of each buyer is as unique as they are. You can’t predict whether the buyer will google their query or ask a friend. Whether the decision is dictated by price, or by their knowledge of the product. Whether the buyer is in a hurry to buy the product from the nearest store or prepared to wait until the next sale season. This brings into play the importance of personalized contextual relevance in the sector.
Digital ubiquity in retail coupled with the need to remain contextually relevant and personal are driving digital transformation in the retail industry. Digital transformation is an enabler for retailers to persuade shoppers and close sales by engaging with them continuously. Research shows that managing customer engagement is a major hurdle for retailers in this age of Digital Ubiquity. It emphasises on the need for using technology to transform the retail experience.
According to Microsoft: “Digital transformation is about reimagining how you bring together people, data, and processes to create value for your customers and maintain a competitive advantage in a digital-first world.” A dynamic sector like retail which is always at the forefront of technological advancement cannot waste any more time in implementing digital transformation which helps to sustain the retail business.
Retailers must be innovative while selecting the right technology in the right places. They need to find new and exciting means to connect with their customers. Be it using machine learning analysis to personalise product recommendations, or adapting AI to answer customer’s queries, or setting up an immersive in-store experience with the help of Augmented Reality, digital ubiquity in retail can be a game-changer in many ways. It helps retailers bridge the gap between what the tech-savvy customers expect and what traditional retail can deliver.
Retailers can also not ignore the impact of Big Data/ Analytics, Internet of Things (IoT) and cloud computing in their business. All these have revolutionized the way they manage inventory, operation, pricing and sales. The store experience, the in-store layout, delivery options, loyalty programs – technology has literally transformed every part of their retail business.
The incredible range of technology available today can bring a paradigm shift in the retail business and offer a shopping experience that’s refreshingly new. It can seamlessly blend the digital with the physical experiences to offer a borderless retail journey to customers. Technology can help you differentiate from your competition and meet the expectations of your evolved customers.
Devising the right strategy for digital transformation is critical in winning over omni-shoppers. Although the objective of every company is to add value to customers, the digital transformation strategy varies from business to business. Businesses need to understand that adopting new technologies not just affects their retail mix but also brings a sea change in the organizational structure. Gone are the days when retail technologies were invented to cater to the requirements of the retail industry. Digital transformation has made sure that the retail sector keeps pace with emerging digital technologies and runs like a well-oiled machine.
Many retailers are reaping the benefit of digital transformation ROI by implementing the right digital strategy in their business. Companies like Walmart, Home Depot and Sephora are surprising their customers by constantly being creative in tapping the right technology.
Technology ensures digital ubiquity in retail no longer remains an impediment for traditional retailers. It turns it into an opportunity by allowing retailers to go that extra mile to attract customers and build loyalty. It gives them more than ample options to be omnipresent in their customer’s journey and drive them to the store. After all, the customer can be in the driver’s seat, but organizations can still be the navigator. All they need is a trusted technology partner to make their digital transformation in retail a reality.
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