With the shopping experience in deep mutation, the use of digital in retail (such as new devices, tools and platforms) is becoming a strategic issue for many retailers. As obvious as the opportunities may seem to use digital to enhance the customer experience or to improve business efficiencies, the insertion of digital apparatus and tools on the shop floor have today met with mitigated success.

Introducing digital into the retail is a relatively new space and takes experimentation and experience to perfect. Having visited over 100 stores around the world that have implemented some form of digital in retail (“digitail”) initiative, here are some of the most prevalent errors and sins that are frequently committed.

Digital in retail sins and errors…

  1. Standalone. The digital activity is not integrated into the regular stream of business. There is no concerted link between the digital activity and the business strategy. {Tweet this!}
  2. Machine only. Human involvement is not thought through enough. For example, the staff on the shop floor are not included upstream in the development. The staff are ill trained. {Tweet this!}
  3. Thinking technology first. In the design process, it’s critical to look at the usage. Aesthetics and user experience are vital to success. {Tweet this!} Digital in Retail - myndset digital strategy
  4. Splash. The digital initiative is the boss’ newest shiniest object. Watch out for that one-time investment (that probably ran over budget) does not have plans or room for a second (and improved) iteration. {Tweet this!}
  5. Measurement. Despite the ease of access to data, it is astounding how poorly the measurements are conceived. In addition, from an HR standpoint, are staff motivation and remuneration linked? Digital in retail needs to be held accountable to a specific objective, hopefully related to the business’ overall strategy. {Tweet this!} Ideally, the metrics are not purely focused on sales, but include evaluating the overall experience and customer satisfaction.
  6. The Bug. Once the installation is complete, things will inevitably go awry. It’s a cardinal sin not to anticipate technical issues. Digital tools and platforms always bug. It’s vital to have contingency plans. {Tweet this!}
  7. Lack of Wifi. Making connection easy and affordable for your customer is no longer a “luxury.” It should be particularly easy to log on, with a robust enough network to allow for the maximum amount of traffic and data. This is all the more true for retailers catering to tourists. {Tweet this!}

There is no doubt that the model of the retail store is under siege. This is not just a question of eCommerce and the internet, it is about the mobile, data and customer expectations. At the end of the day, I believe that the retail store must evolve dramatically to enhance and optimize what it has always had: the human touch. Thus, the insertion of digital in retail requires an enormous rethink to involve the individuals concerned, to provide convenience, education and an overall superior experience than can be found online, to say nothing of one’s competition. The re-envisioned retail store is a fantastic way to expound and expand on the 5Es that I believe new marketing needs to include urgently.

Your thoughts and reactions, please!

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