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article imageFive steps for the digital transformation of retail

By Tim Sandle     Oct 20, 2018 in Business
A new review of the retail space outlines what retailers need to do in order to make digital transformation possible. Interestingly these all center on people.
Traditional retail has been affected by the rise of e-commerce stores. To survive, retailers need to find a balance between thinking like digitally native companies, and delivering a differentiated in-store experience. This means adopting new technologies, such as guest Wi-Fi, faster point of sale, enhanced customer relationship management (CRM), video specialist advisors, mobile checkouts, and working cultures.
A review of the digital transformation strategies that retailer should be considering has been flagged by the publication Retail Week. The five strategies were drawn from a survey of 75 retailers. Retail Week asked each respondent about their top three barriers to digital transformation, and drew up a list of the top five. The full findings are contained within the report "Brave New World - leading through digital transformation."
Everyone needs to be involved
The first finding is that while a retail company can appoint people to coordinate digital transformation of have the CEO or CFO take the lead, digital transformation will wobble unless everyone in the firm is involved in shape or form and committed to the idea of adopting new approaches and technologies. As the report finds it is "better to envisage the opportunities digital transformation offers across all functions – and create an open culture where agile teams are energized to realize them."
It also stands that resistance to change need to be overcome, especially as people will try to protect part of an existing organisational structure from radical change.
Use the human resources in place
Although experts will be needed to assist with the implementation of new technology, it is good practice to utilize the employees currently in the retail firm. This helps to keep loyalty and ensures experiences about retail trends is harnessed. As the findings surmise: "While passion can’t be taught, new skills can."
Hire the right people
When hiring the people with the necessary technology skills to assist with the digitization of the business it is as important to hire those with the right personalities and commitment to the retail arm as it is to have those with the best available technology skills. Failure to do so will risk destabilizing the internal dynamics of the firm. Here it is noted: "To avoid mutual frustration, ensure their new role is motivating and keep it that way."
Many new hires will assist with gathering and analyzing data. This means a digitally focused infrastructure, both in-store and online, to review the vast quantities of data generated, such as about customer journeys, habits, and preferences. This data can then feed back into the transformation strategy.
Select supplier partners carefully
When working with suppliers and distributors it is important to ensure that these partner firms share the digital vision, such as willing to adopt the necessary technologies like blockchain. All teams should be upskilled with the necessary skills and technologies.
Don't forget the customer
The old adage "the customer is always right" needs to remain as part of the focus. If the customer doesn't take to the new technology then digital transformation will fail, such as a new shopping app. This places an importance on consumer surveys sand focus groups. It is also important to support front-line teams who have experience and understanding as to customer needs.
More about Retail, Stores, Shopping, digital transformation
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