Any business of any size, regardless if it only consists of one employee working out of a home office, or an international corporation making millions of dollars in profits, we must consider how digitization is affecting businesses. The question is no longer “when”, but instead, “how do we innovate?” If the digital movement isn’t an integral part of your marketing strategy, you’re not going to be in business very long.
Retail is the perfect example of an industry where the saying “innovate or die” has shown to be true for businesses that have been around forever. Some once successful companies that failed to innovate are: Blockbuster, Xerox, MySpace, Polaroid and Blackberry. It has also helped in creating new ones like Amazon, eBay and Casper. A company’s size or revenue should have nothing to do with innovation.
Smaller businesses must strategize and take the commonly dreaded leap into the digital market. These small companies many times will have the greatest gains from a digital makeover. Taking advantage of features like ecommerce sites, CRM tools and automation allows small businesses to compete with larger entities.
E commerce combined with the digital evolution of similar industries is creating an exciting shopping experience. In the world of small businesses, companies that are able to learn how to take advantage of and implement the latest technologies will stand out among their competitors. To survive the imminent digital shift in the industry, retailers just starting out must take their customer’s needs into consideration. We will give you a few tips on accomplishing this feat.
Customers Want a Seamless Transaction
Anyone who has a mobile device with internet connection can shop 24/7 regardless of where they are at. You must consider advances in the modern consumer’s steps to purchase. It has been reported that more than 50 percent of last year’s purchases occurred online. Over 90 percent of customers used smart phones while shopping in-store and more than 75 percent worldwide were influenced by some form of social media.
This trend in behavior requires an integrated online experience that is seamless across brick-and-mortar locations and online platforms alike. This must be consistent from start to end; from the purchase all the way to returns. If you are not planning on having a mobile app or to sell online, there are still options for engaging with the modern digital audience. For instance, ensure that you have a website with a responsive design that looks uniform across any device that your visitors may be using.
Today’s customer service requirements differ greatly from the needs of customers 5 or 10 years ago. Millennials make up nearly as much of the population as baby boomers, but this tech-savvy generation is anything but traditional when it comes shopping. To draw their attention, personalization is imperative. Retailers that can offer reliable, yet customized options are more likely to pull ahead of the competitors.
The smooth shopping experience doesn’t end once a business successfully integrates digital and physical shopping platforms. The next step for retailers is synchronizing these funnels. This involves breaking down the lines between mobile, web and in-store transactions so that each works as a unified system, with the customer experience at the center.
Personalize Every Transaction
When it comes to shopping, every customer wants to feel special, like an item was created just for them. Establishing a sense of uniqueness has become common in the retail industry. By using predictive statistics, companies can prepare for the needs and wants of their customers to create these customized experiences.
Recently, more retailers are implementing advanced technologies to collect, record and analyze customer behaviors, not just online, but in person as well. The ability to track customer behavior while in the store is giving brick-and-mortar owners the same level of systematic capabilities that online retailers have had access to for years.
Curating and analyzing the data, the site can draw a clearer picture of each customer’s needs, style and preferences. Once this information is paired with previous purchases, behavioral studies and market trends, the potential opportunities are endless. The company not only uses this information for an individualized shopping experience, but also is able to predict new trends and make future design decisions. This gives the consumer more power than ever before over product origination.
Conform the Technology to Your Specific Business
When joining the digital world, small businesses should follow in the footsteps of larger, proven companies and hire technology professionals to boost the customer experience. Coming up with a technology strategy is a common way to increase capabilities under the guidance of trained technology professionals with extensive experience in guiding retailers into the 21st century. This pairs people together who understand both the business and the technology sides equally.
There is no time like the present for retailers, regardless of size, to reevaluate their market and draw inspiration from successful contemporary companies to get inside the head of the current consumer. By relying on experts with creative design influence to move their business to the internet, companies can reach out to and attract the attention of the modern-day customer.
The retail industry is undergoing a massive transition, and there is no sign of it slowing any time soon. Innovative technologies like the internet, automated services, artificial intelligence by machines and 3D printing are no longer just futuristic concepts. They are an integral part of day-to-day operations in the business world, and the possibilities they provide are endless.
Withstanding these retail transformations is not about implementing every new technology that comes along, but rather about making knowledgeable decisions about which technologies to put into place. Also, understanding when the time is right to invest in these improvements. Small businesses that can recognize upcoming opportunities, identify possible threats and rethink its business plans with digital advances at the helm will thrive in the market of the future.
Image Credits To: Vuhung