As digital transformation turns every company (including the retail industry) regardless of its business towards embracing technology, it is more than likely that your customers will now engage with your brand through the screens of their phones and laptops. It is therefore important to invest in product design, an important enabler of transformation.
What is digital transformation in retail?
In the retail industry, business experience, on one hand, means a disruption, the offering of new services and the improvement of existing systems by using technology. On the other hand, the retail customer is also evolving as is their shopping journey. Customers expect that their shopping experience will be personalized, which means that the retailer has to transform accordingly. Several game-changing options like self-checkout kiosks, voice-search for products and customized offerings are among the many ways that business experience is affecting the retail industry.
How has digital transformation improved retail?
- Digital transformation has made connections with customers easier through a variety of contact channels like websites, social media accounts, mobile apps and chatbots. These channels open up new opportunities for engagement, boosting customer loyalty, sharing promotions and inspiring customers as they pass through the sales funnel.
- Retail operations can improve with the implementing of modern tools based on cloud technologies. By automating processes, the time spent on manual tasks can be reduced. It can also make customer knowledge more transparent and improve client support.
- The customer shopping experience can become more convenient with digital transformation, for example, AI-powered tools can give product recommendations through a chatbot. It allows employees to be more productive and makes customer service quicker, more efficient and pleasanter.
- Digital transformation in the retail sector translates to the engagement of new customers in new locations through more channels of income which eventually lead to higher revenue.
How is the retail industry being transformed?
Here are some examples of how business experience is transforming the retail industry.
Making Omnichannel Retail a Reality
Omnichannel retail means providing cross-channel content in a unified way to your customers. It means that customers are met wherever they are without missing any of the touchpoints. The company’s presence is felt in brick and mortar stores, on mobile shopping, social media, and marketplaces. This is the way that traditional retailers can remain relevant and noticed
Altering Shopping Habits
After providing the customer first approach where you provide the customer with a customized seamless online experience and faster processes, it is time for reinvention. Here is where you try to understand the customers buying decisions and lack thereof, with the insights gained and the use of technology, shopping habits can be altered.
Uncovering new business models
Digital transformation in retail provides new solutions to old problems with the help of new business models. Some of the recent business models that have emerged are:
- Peer to peer sales or Sharing services/products
- Self-serve kiosks
- Flash sales
- Contextual advertising
- Partnerships & referrals
- Caring for the environment
- Business to home (B2H) or home integration
Re-inventing Physical Retail Stores
Despite the speculation about the future of physical stores, they are not going anywhere soon. Digital transformation has ensured that having digital touchpoints are crucial, but the way of the future for retail is transforming physical stores into smart, high-tech outlets with both online and offline channels integrated seamlessly. Smart fitting rooms, self-checkouts, smart carts, RFID enabled tags, well-designed aisles, optimal product placements, smart warehouses are some of the many ways that digital transformation will cause the reinvention of the retail store.
Getting Ready for The Retail Industry Future
Digital transformation has brought AI, VR, AR, big data and such futuristic technology into the retail sector.
With the help of technology companies can:
- Respond to customers 24/7 using chatbots
- Offer personalized product suggestions
- Remember customer preferences
- Have an up to date inventory
- Predict consumer needs
- Automate processes
What role does design play in a transforming the retail industry?
Failure to look into design can impact the success of a digital transformation strategy. Design plays an important role that is most often overlooked. The fact of the matter is that design helps digital transformation become customer-centric. The best way to ensure that digital transformation works for both you and your customers is to invest time and resources into design.
What are the Elements of Design?
UX and UI
It is important to think of your customers first while developing your digital transformation strategy and the needs of the business second. Address how changes will affect your customers and start the process with designing good UX and UI. User experience design is about how your customers will interact with your business and through every touchpoint in their relationship to you. Avoid drastic changes that require customers to go through a steep learning curve in their transactions with you. UI or user interface design is an important factor for the way a customer experiences your brand. It deals with the graphical layout of your portals and the ease of use in navigating them. Keep your website, app and any other platform customer-centric.
When you are implementing your digital transformation strategy remember that the world we live in is a mobile-first world and this has to be considered in your design and digital transformation strategies. Most of your customers will interact with your business via their mobile devices so it only makes sense to design a mobile app that makes it easier for them.
Your website plays a critical role in your digital transformation as it is usually the first experience that your customers have with you and it advertises your digital personality and culture. It is also a business asset and care should be taken to ensure that customers can find, understand and navigate it easily. Website design is no longer about creating a pretty website, it is more about functionality and ease of use.
If you are thinking of executing a business transformation plan, make sure that you start with the design department to ensure a smooth and easy transformation.
More and more businesses in the retail sector are going digital in order to improve their services and customer experiences. If you are looking for a trusted technological partner, don’t hesitate to contact one of our experts at Kilowott