3 guiding principles for digital transformation in retail
Pinterest buy buttons make “pins” actionable. Etsy provides small vendors a direct route to consumers. Facebook Messenger, WeChat and iMessage, as well as a surge of social influencers, are all enabling a wave of social commerce that is prompting digital transformation in retail. In-store or in-the-wild, your customers have more options and higher expectations than ever.
The freedom of mobile has unleashed consumer demand, setting the retail industry into a competitive frenzy. However, the accessibility of emerging technologies on the cloud gives CIOs a golden opportunity to turn frenzy into new business value. Read more in our “Digital Transformation in Retail” report in association with “Predictions 2017: Mobile is the Face of Digital” from Forrester Research.
It’s tempting to try to “be everywhere” in the age of digital transformation in retail where e-commerce is outperforming in-store sales overall, and in key areas such as general merchandise, sporting goods, electronics, appliances and clothing, according to First Data.
To be successful in digital transformation, retail CIOs need to organize around three key principles:
1. Be customer-centric
Partner with your Chief Marketing Officer and create a plan to deliver the customer-centric experience that best reflects the key tenets of your brand. In many cases mobile is the primary, and sometimes only face of customer experience. Keep it simple and intuitive. Personalize it with relevant offers that are easy to execute from any device, through the most relevant digital channels and connected to the in-store experience. Arm store associates with the right technology that helps them to engage customers in a personalized way.
2. Know where your customers engage
The freedom of mobile has unleashed consumer demand, setting the industry into a competitive frenzy. You don’t need to be everywhere, you just need to be everywhere your customers are engaging. By partnering with marketing, together retail CIOs can map out the customer engagement strategy and define where it makes the most sense to engage – on Pinterest, Facebook Messenger, Slack or perhaps partner with adjacent industries to incorporate a frictionless experience that is relevant to the customer’s immediate needs.
3. Act in an agile and iterative fashion
An exploding catalog of technology building blocks made accessible, usable and affordable on the cloud is driving innovation and leveling the playing field between small, digitally-savvy retail start-ups and established brands. These unique and contextually relevant services make it easier than ever for entrepreneurial minded retail CIOs to incorporate augmented intelligence through a cognitive agent, contextual data to trigger relevant alerts related to weather and location, or tone analysis to capture and respond appropriately to customer sentiment. Learn how your team can take a DevOps approach to mobile development with this Bluemix tutorial.
Despite the breakneck pace of change, Retail CIOs have the power to deliver the “wow.” Be everywhere with experiences that are relevant and secure by putting the customer at the center of your digital transformation strategy, partnering with marketing to design the experience and using mobile and cloud as your accelerators for innovation. Learn more in our Digital Transformation in Retail report, in association with Predictions 2017: Mobile is the Face of Digital from Forrester.