Digital Transformation in Retail: What it Means
The rapid in rise of digital solutions being available for everyday tasks and online solutions have caused a multitude of industries and organizations to change. You no longer need to wait out on the road for a taxi or call one, Uber has that handled for you. Digital compact discs no longer fill your selves, Spotify has all the music you need at your fingertips. Books are available on your Kindle, not on your bookshelf. There are numerous other examples in everyday life where digital media has replaced physical media. To a certain extent, this is also true for retail.
Digitization of Retail
Amazon is the leading online retailer currently and like it, there are numerous other online retailers popping up all over the world. The digital transformation of retail is progressing very fast and shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon. However, when you think about it, retail hasn’t been changed into something digital. The objects you buy are still physical. All the clothes you buy are something you place in your hands and put in your closet, where they occupy space. Therefore, the traditional concept of retail being the physical exchange of objects still remains true. If we had to talk about the digital transformation of retail, we need to look at how everything concerned with the service of retail has changed.
How Retail Has Changed With Digital Solutions
Although the true essence of retail, exchange of physical objects, has not changed or transformed, the retail industry has probably been the most affected by the introduction of digital solutions. 90% of all retail sales still happen to take place inside stores, a physical exertion by the customers. However, it’s what happens inside the stores that shows the effect of digital media. According to research, 90% of the people who visit retail stores happen to take out their smartphones while shopping. A whopping 54% of those compare prices with other stores, with others using their phones to look for product information and reviews. Data has become the crux of retail industry.
Nearly every single product has its information uploaded online, which is free for the public to view. Customers regularly give reviews on third party websites, online retail websites, or even on the web pages owned by the makers of the product. Often, many product developers encourage people to review their products. The huge swath of data means that less is no longer more in retail. Customers, having all the information they need at their fingertips, wish to know as much as they can about any product they are interested in buying. For them, making sure they know what they’re investing in is essential.
Beyond information being increasingly accessible, online retailers and product developers regularly ask their customers to fill surveys. The surveys are checked through data mining software and patterns are located. The patterns let the companies find out about what customers want and how they want it. What improvements they would like and what changes they would like to see. Retail has thus become a highly customer-centric industry with the introduction of technology. With customers taking so much care to research what they buy and being on the hunt for as much information as available, appeasing the customers has become essential. Retailers now have to target the customers in a personal manner. They have to reach for the customers’ needs and fulfill them, instead of waiting for the customers to visit the stores and fulfill them on their own. For that end, a mass of data is collected each year and thoroughly analyzed to find out customer behavioral patterns. This data becomes the basis of all retail marketing and strategies.
The Rise of E-Commerce
Digital solutions have brought with them a wave of e-commerce solutions. According to studies, all retail customers use the internet at least once in a purchase. This can be done at any point in the life-cycle of a typical purchase. Modern e-commerce involves any retail sale done with the help of the World Wide Web. This can be researching product information or even purchasing the object online. In recent times, entire e-commerce has come to include everything related to retail.
That was the classical definition of e-commerce. With the rise of technology, e-commerce has developed into something far more than that. Retailers these days employ the most the most advanced technology to look at the way customers react with products and services. Artificial intelligence is used to keep an eye on a customer’s every single action to see how they interact with anything they buy and use. With open source e-commerce solutions and big data analysis offered by companies such as Salesforce, Spree Commerce, and Magento, it is becoming very easy for retailers to assess customer behavior.
One e-commerce solution happens to be the usage of omnichannel commerce strategies. Omnichannel commerce links customers with offline and online solutions. With online shopping, customers normally don’t know or care about what channels their purchases are done. To make those purchases a seamless process omnichannel strategies are used. Customers can buy their products online and visit the store to receive them, a process when executed seamlessly, leads to increased customer satisfaction. A seamless omnichannel system, like the one crafted by Magento, not only lets customers purchase offline or online, but it also allows the companies to handle customer accounts, deal with payments, store the products, and much more. It is a real time purchase, payment, and packaging process that keeps both ends updated and allows all information to be handled without any loss of data. This leads to less errors, digital transformation is helping retail with.
The retail industry has seen numerous changes due to digital technologies and solutions, and those changes have been immense. Nearly everything surrounding the flow of goods has become reliant on technology and is becoming increasingly digitized. The digital transformation of retail, a customer-centric change, is real and all companies will need to adapt to it in order to survive. As technology advances, so will retail.