Top five strategic steps to digital transformation in retail

It is essential to digitally transform a retail business and deliver a consistent customer experience instore and online. But what are the most fundamental strategic steps you should take?

Seize Digital
Given the well-publicised challenges faced by many High Street retailers, it’s perhaps unsurprising that retail is one industry where digital transformation is high on the strategic agenda. Yet, despite the rise in ecommerce sales, the lack of any well-established best practices, coupled with the practical complexity of implementing a successful digital transformation process, has left many businesses behind the curve, and subsequently jeopardised their survival. 

These days, customers expect a consistent brand experience instore and online: that is from the physical and to online store, and the customer service levels on offer available from the call centre to head office. But where should retail businesses start when it comes to their digital transformation? Here are our five strategic steps to success…

1. Establish a digital connection to your customers

The first step for many retailers is to establish a digital connection with customers that is consistent, regardless of sales and marketing media channel or method they use to engage  with a brand. Shoppable social media presences, email marketing and promotions, and online enquiry forms or click-to-talk features are just a few examples of digital channels that allow two-way communication between brands and their customers.

However, simply putting these methods of digital interaction in place is not enough. In fact, if they’re not monitored properly , they can actually do more harm than good. The key is to ensure every channel provides a consistent response in terms of information, speed of delivery, tone of voice and outcome. Customers often hop between channels when performing even the simplest shopping tasks. So, it’s essential the end-to-end experience is as seamless as possible. 

2. Create a complementary online and offline strategy

The most successful retailers understand that store footfall is still critically important to boosting revenues. The key is to establish a robust online-to-offline (O2O) strategy that encourages digital shoppers to visit your physical outlets. This can be done by offering free collection of online purchases instore or adding a store locator to your website that helps customers find you in the digital world.

Digital transformation also requires the introduction of digital touch points in a store. These can include click  & collect points, multichannel returns services, and free Wi-Fi and mobile payment schemes, all bundled into a  loyalty app, as we introduced for Greggs. Omnichannel shoppers, i.e. those who make purchases online and instore, have a 30% higher lifetime customer value than who shop in one or other channel according to Google, which means creating a complementary digital offline strategy is a sure fire way to generate transformative business results. 

3. Gain digitally-enabled customer insights

Every digital customer interaction, from a reservation or purchase to a share or like, generates data that can be used to gain valuable insights into who your customers are, where they come from and which of your marketing and promotional activities are generating the best results. This will allow you to make more informed decisions in the future and optimise the customer experience. 

Ensure that you are tracking key digitally-enabled data insights that include:

• Where customers are based
• What products they buy
• How much they typically spend
• What pages they view
• When they may abandon their basket
• Whether they open your marketing emails
• How they found your business online

By building a more complete picture of the customers and their journey, you will be able to improve customer interactions and boost future sales, both offline and online.

4. Turn those insights into action using performance-driven marketing

Using data to inform your marketing campaigns makes all the difference to their success. In a recent Econsultancy survey, one in six brand marketers admitted that performance-driven marketing that uses data stored on an individual shopper’s preferences was the single most exciting opportunity to personalise their business offering. Examples of data-based and performance driven digital marketing include:

• Creating more targeted email campaigns based on location and/or website behaviour
• Generating personalised content according to the contents of a customer’s abandoned basket
• Sending personalised offers to customers for products they have previously shown an interest in

5. Test, learn and repeat

No business that wants to give customers more of what they want in the most profitable way can afford to rest on its laurels. Learning from and adapting to customer preferences is a process of continuous improvement. Applying DIAL methodology: Data – Insight – Action – Loyalty, can transform data into game-changing customer-centric insights to keep you ahead of the curve. 

Create a real-time connection with your customers

At Eagle Eye, our SaaS marketing platform allows retailers to create an intelligent digital connection with customers to increase sales, grow loyalty and drive your business forward. Get in touch to find out more.