[DOSSIER] THE 7 CHALLENGES OF STORE DIGITIZATION
Published on 1 February 2017
Nowadays consumers have no qualms about using different methods of shopping, which has shaken up the way businesses work. Consumers are now buying both in-store and online, even using mobile phones to do so. This is why brands need to remain ahead of the game when it comes to technology, and be as connected as their customers are. Changes in shopping habits should be analyzed and brands need to rapidly adapt to the evolving market. While challenging, these changes do not need to be complicated, and we have come up with 7 challenges of store digitization to keep in mind when upgrading and adapting brand processes.
Defining customer journeys by adopting a digital culture to serve store needs
This is a two-pronged challenge as it is important to not create a digital journey just for the sake of having one. Instead, the challenge is to create a digital culture that is adapted to the brand’s needs and uses. The idea is to develop a digital area that enriches and improves the customer’s journey, one that is seamlessly integrated with a more traditional customer journey.
Transforming marketing and commercial strategies by integrating digital tools
The use of digital tools can really enhance marketing and sales strategies, reaching a wider population of consumers. These digital tools can also personalize marketing strategies based on customer, depending on their cross-channel use and general customer journeys. For example, a brand can create discount coupons available via mobile devices, personalized marketing emails targeting a customer’s direct needs, and customized, targeted advertising.
Bringing the customer to the store
The challenge here is to guide an initially digital customer to come into the physical store to finalize a purchase (web-to-store). This is a way to provide an optimal customer service experience as well as potentially generate more sales. However, it can only be done in an organic fashion, and the customer must never feel forced to change the course of his or her journey. This requires that the brand has a vast knowledge of the customer, and the ability to analyze customer data effectively.
Making technology accessible by in-store sales staff
In-store sales staff need to be given access to the digital tools available, and trained how to use them effectively, so that the customer’s digital shopping experience can be effectively integrated with the in-store experience. These tools will allow sales staff to fully understand each customer’s needs and requests, and provide them with the most optimal service in-store.
Assisting a customer in the store
Digital tools, as well as trained sales staff, need to be in place to serve the customer along their journey by providing assistance and advice. This can be in the form of strategically placed tablets or terminals, or even mobile phones with GPS navigation. The idea is to ensure that the customer’s shopping journey is always enjoyable, informative, and fast.
Guaranteeing cross-channel cohesion
Multiple cross-channel interactions between customers and a brand can create a tracking nightmare, so in order to ensure cohesive actions with a customer, all interactions and information must be centralized and easily accessible by marketing and sales teams.
Measuring the effectiveness of digital tools
When defining a brand’s digital objectives as per the first challenge listed, a brand must also define the methods they will use to measure the effectiveness of their tools. This is an important part of making sure that the digitization methods are working according to plan and are having a positive effect on both customers and investment. These measurements can be made via different types of operational or customer satisfaction indicators.