In general, when retail businesses consider moving online, they tend to look at it as a way to take their business operations just as they are and move them to an online medium. But going online isn’t just about adding a new way to interact with your customers and ecosystem. Instead, it is an opportunity to transform every aspect of your business – how you procure material, how you sell, to whom you sell and what you sell. The online medium creates an opportunity to deliver a consistent, unique and superior customer experience across all selling, media and social media channels.
To execute a truly successful digital transformation initiative, the important thing is to start with the customer at the center of your strategy. This way, you can ensure that your framework and operations are designed to best serve your most important stakeholder – your customer.
It is important to always remember that technology adoption isn’t the end goal. Instead, technology is merely a tool to achieve the larger business goals. Therefore, success needs to be measured based on how well it serves the people who use it.
For any digital transformation efforts to be truly effective, here are some things to keep in mind:
Map your customers’ journey and look for opportunities to create better experiences
Investing resources and effort to gain insight into what your customers truly want is an important factor for success. Rather than taking an organization-centric view to designing process flows and website navigation, taking a customer-centric view of digital transformation is a better way to go about the process. If your digital transformation efforts do not enhance the customer experience by several notches, the entire exercise is in vain. Companies that put the customer at the center of their digital transformation efforts are much better poised to make it a success.
Consider Operational Implications
While it great to design an online strategy that offers an exceptional experience to your customers, it is even more crucial that your business is equipped to deliver the goods. It makes sense to honestly evaluate organizational capacity to determine what is possible on the ground. You may find you need to tweak your business operations on the ground slightly to accommodate new offerings. For example, if you decide to offer a ‘buy online, pick up in store’ option, you need to train your on-ground staff to handle these requests. You need to also ensure proper signage and parking space etc. so customers who come to the store to pick up their orders know what to do. There would also likely be a need for modifications to the software systems so that the online channel can talk to the store channel in real time. These seemingly small measures can often be the difference between success and failure.
Promote customer-centric ways of working
It is no secret that the better a business understands its customers, the better it can serve them. But customer insight should not be the exclusive domain of the marketing team. Efforts to understand the customer can happen at every stage of the customer journey both online and offline. Ensure you have a system in place to share meaningful information and customer insights with people across the organization. This will help shape better customer interactions and help your people understand the importance of customer insights. Designing your organization such that it promotes customer centricity is a great way to ensure this.
For retail organizations, investing in the right digital technology has the potential to completely transform the business. But for it to be truly effective, a customer-centric framework is crucial.
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