What retailers have to expect from the digital transformation

Shopping is more than a sober transaction, whether in the shop around the corner or online: knowing the customer and their preferences increase profits. Only customer-oriented, cross-sales channel processes fulfill the customers’ expectations of a holistic and innovative shopping experience. The key question here is: “How can digitization be made customer-oriented?” This blog article provides information on the challenges & trends in retail and on how you can prepare your company to overcome these challenges with tools such as a DAM.

Table of Contents

There is no doubt about it: digitalization is changing the rules of the game. The change processes of the digital transformation affect the entire society and to a large extent the retail sector. While online trade has been growing rapidly for years, and it was pushed even more through the COVID crisis, the trend has so far left the food industry relatively unscathed. However, with online food sales increasing, especially in the last two years, no supermarket can exist without an online shop. 

As an example, Amazon Fresh is Amazon’s online grocery store where customers are able to buy groceries online and have them delivered the next day. It started in 2007 at the company’s Seattle headquarters and has since spread across the United States and overseas. In April 2020, the orders for grocery-related goods were 50 times greater than usual due to the pandemic according to the vtex.com.

On the other hand, gurkerl.at, one of the food delivery services in Austria has recently reached the so-called “unicorn” status through another round of financing according to derstandard.at. This means unlisted companies, that are worth more than one billion dollars.

The trend of ordering everything online forces retailers to invest in omnichannel commerce and link both online and offline channels into unified shopping worlds. This requires a holistic change of the company since all departments determine success or failure. Companies often invest considerable sums in IT solutions. But the best technology is only successful if companies are also prepared to change entire business models quickly. A common mistake is a lack of customer orientation and too much fixation on internal processes, thus retailers should therefore think beyond mere technologization.  

Challenges for retailers

1. Keeping your customer

Customer loyalty works best when a unique shopping experience is created. This applies equally to the real world and digital commerce. E-commerce is characterized by the fact that the customer can get information without using sales staff. Nevertheless, it is necessary to enable social interaction and individual experience in order to create a “unique customer experience” so that your customers will return instead of a one-time purchase. 

Some tips: One of the ways to improve the return rate of your customers could be to provide great customer service. Lots of companies sell excellent products or services but they do not place a big enough focus on having ‘happy’ customers. As much as 95% of consumers say that customer service is important for brand loyalty according to bigcommerce.com.

2. Providing a great customer experience

One of the biggest challenges is to consistently implement the theme of offering the customer a seamless experience. There is a growing awareness amongst traditional retailers that all customer touchpoints need to be connected. The goal must be to enable customers to shop in different ways and to offer the right mix of online and brick-and-mortar retail, as customers expect a “full experience”, an experience that enriches them both online and offline.

Some tips: There are various ways how a great customer experience can be achieved. One of the most crucial ones would be to have a clear, attractive well functioning website where possible prospects can navigate through without any issues.

3. Mobile First

With the majority of the world’s population accessing the internet via smartphones, businesses who haven’t yet considered making their e-commerce platform mobile-friendly should be prepared to bear the burden. Smartphones make it possible to act quickly and share information easily with sometimes even a single click. 

Some tips: When it comes to web design, designers and developers can no longer consider mobile design to be secondary, but instead should focus on “universal” design. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes and To generate a pleasant user experience, be deliberate and pay attention to detail.

4. Constantly increasing competition

Even if you’re offering something absolutely unique, there’s a strong likelihood you’re up against some competition. Competition is increasing, as is price awareness, but the demands on products remain the same. The market presence must continuously adapt to customer expectations.

Some tips: Knowing what is your biggest differentiation factor and your value proposition are both crucial points when it comes to trying to overcome your competitors. In other words, providing them with an ultimate reason why they must choose you over other options out there. 

5. A growing need for an omnichannel experience

Nowadays more and more people are shopping omnichannel. As an example, they might interact with you on social, then do a bit of research about your company and then hopefully they end up buying something. 

Some tips: In order to be able to provide a seamless experience for your customer there has to be an omnichannel strategy in place that ensures that they have a positive and consistent touchpoint with you throughout all of your channels.

5. Cyber & Data Security

According to Vue.ai one of the biggest challenges of E-commerce is data breaches. There are tons of information out there that are involved in the process and if there is any issue, it can severely harm both the retailer’s everyday activities and the image of the brand.

Some tips: Firstly, always have your data saved and backed up. Furthermore, there is no room for errors, as you’ll lose your business if you have a critical failure. The ideal strategy is to invest as much in e-commerce and IT security as you do in marketing or site design. 

The top 6 current trends in retail

1. Retail Recruiting

The salesperson behind the cash register is a discontinued model – in contrast, more digital experts are needed in the retail industry. The retail sector must present itself as an attractive employer in order to inspire young talents with the necessary digital skills.

2. Dash Delivery

Due to the continuing boom in e-commerce, last-mile delivery is becoming a challenge. The competition between retailers and logistics providers for the best innovations has flared up. Convenience is becoming the trump card.

3. Voice Commerce

Voice commerce is becoming an intelligent extension of e-commerce. Digital voice assistants enable shopping by voice control, independent of screens. Also, younger consumers who have grown up with digital encounters find it appealing.

4. 3D For Shopping

The possibilities for portraying tangible objects as 3D virtual representations are tremendous, enabling the customer to see an item from all perspectives and interact with it while considering a purchase. An improved shopping experience ensures greater sell-through, reduces returns, and cuts shipping costs for both retailers and manufacturers, as customers will have a better shot at getting decisions correct the first time.

6. Social Commerce

In general, people are turning more and more to social media to search for new types of products out there. Social commerce means basically a model where items or services are directly sold through social media.  According to blog.miva.comSocial commerce sales are projected to reach $79.6 billion in 2025, giving merchants another channel for sales and marketing.”

7. AI & Automation Tools

Automation boosts both efficiency and productivity while saving time and costs. As customer behaviors are rapidly changing and there are more and more competitors out there, automation and AI tools can come in very handy these days.

How Does a DAM Add Value to Your Business

A digital asset management system (DAM) supports e-commerce and stationary retail and food trade alike in making customers’ interaction with digital content tangible, evaluating it in detail and drawing benefits for the company’s goal. Digital assets, on which online and also offline presences were based, are electronic files with specific content and the corresponding value for the company. The possibilities range from photos, videos, PDF files, print-ready marketing documents, Adobe InDesign files, graphics, visualizations and 3D images to animations or audio files. For the management of brands, these are of great importance in terms of content.

A DAM manages digital content and information centrally. Efficient all-in-one DAM solutions are key to enhancing the customer experience, simplifying the management, distribution, integration and control of rich content. This is the content that users interact with during the customer journey. Especially online, this is a big advantage, as fast responses are expected and standard. DAM simplifies the daily marketing routine; only on a systemic level will companies be able to cope with the mass of data and content in the future, create a good balance between efficiency and effectiveness, keep webshops up-to-date and remain competitive at the same time.

The use of a DAM with integrations and interfaces to other important systems such as web CMS or e-commerce applications is an essential and central aspect in structuring the communication between customer and retailer. Round-the-clock information on customer behavior, insight into the preferences of the target group, support for digital interaction: linked with merchandise management, pricing, personal and media communication, DAM and the evaluation of the data can be used to make and sell precisely tailored offers.

The growing demands of customers regarding the appealing and consistent presentation of products result in ever new challenges not only for online retail but also directly at the point of sale. The visual presentation of the latest offers and information, for example by means of digital signage solutions, has become indispensable in order to increase customer satisfaction and win over new target groups. Here, too, DAM is an important building block for the control and consistent presentation of visual product and brand content. Read more here if you would like to know more about why a DAM can be important to your business. 

So, What Now?

Only those who know their customers can serve them appropriately. The internet with its many possibilities for increasing sales is both an opportunity and a challenge. It is important to coordinate the possibilities of stationary and online business. A sound digital omnichannel marketing strategy promises success and creates a consistent brand experience for the customer. A DAM saves time, money and nerves – it is the key to improving the customer experience.

During the customer journey, the customer does not differentiate between online and offline marketing, the experience with the brand counts. Due to the changes that come with digitalization one thing is certain: innovative forms of advice and the professionalization of digital services are becoming increasingly important. In order to stand out from the vast amount of information that pours in on customers, the use of a DAM as the most important pillar for all content-relevant customer experiences in the architecture of the customer journey is indispensable in addition to precise target group analysis. A DAM thus contributes significantly to the successful, customer-oriented alignment of marketing and sales processes along the customer journey.

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