I made an appointment for a haircut, and they insisted on sending me reminder text messages. I visited a booth at our local farmer’s market where they gave me a card with their Twitter handle printed on it. I heard about a chicken dinner fundraiser through a promoted Facebook ad. It’s unavoidable, and as a choosy, digitally connected consumer, I am just fine with that.
Retailers and consumer-driven companies have always led the way in finding better ways to acquire, engage, and retain customers. From the dawn of the Internet and ebusiness, digital has been in the retail toolkit. But in the past several years, the connected consumer has been forcing retailers to not just have a digital option, but to use these options to transform the business itself.
Retailers are not alone in this latest wave of customer-centricity. Many of Perficient’s customers are adopting a position of digital transformation, which is best described by Brian Solis, Principal at Altimeter Group. Brian describes digital transformation as:
“The realignment of, or new investment in, technology and business models to more effectively engage digital customers at every touchpoint in the customer experience lifecycle.”
Many retailers have been doing this for years and would claim that their digital transformation started when they launched their first .com site or their mobile app or enabled omni-channel shopping between .com, mobile, and their stores. So what is different?
Consumers are ready.
Technologies that have driven supply chains and commerce, and now mobile and cloud, have become nearly ubiquitous in the hands of the consumers themselves. Devin Wenig, president of eBay Marketplaces, sums up the state of digital for retail pretty well:
“I just think we’ve hit an inflection point where technology is now so pervasive and so useful that we’re past the tipping point. And the world of e-commerce and commerce are now just seamlessly merged, and everything is omni-channel. It’s not about the phone or the desktop or the store — it’s about all of those. I think the last two years in particular have been extraordinary in the sense that technology has deconstructed the retail industry.”
Now is the time for retailers to become particularly deliberate about their own digital transformations. Perficient has been covering broad digital transformation trends for a while, and the Consumer Markets team here at Perficient wanted to highlight how the principles of digital transformation apply specifically for retailers – especially retailers who feel that their digital transformations are complete, or worse yet, not needed. This is the first in a series of blogs about digital transformation for retail.
Over the next few posts we will cover the following:
- Why transform? What are the trends and drivers pushing retailers towards digital transformation?
- What to transform? What are the elements and components of a digitally transformed retailer?
- How to transform? What steps can retailers take to get started or push their transformation forward?
- Who is transforming? Which retailers are doing it well and what is their story?
We’re looking forward to sharing our thoughts and ideas on this topic and hope you’ll be back to read them.
Jim Hertzfeld is Principal and Chief Strategist for Perficient Digital, and works with clients to make their customers and shareholders happy through insanely great digital experiences.