Digital transformations in the retail sector are causing changes that force all brands to take them into account. Only in this way will they be able to survive in an environment in which a new digital economy is being consolidated with unprecedented social and economic implications.
Not surprisingly, 3 years ago, the Digital Density Index prepared by Oxford Economics and Accenture, predicted that the increase in the use of digital technologies could increase the GDP of the top 10 economies in the world by more than 1,250 billion euros.
Thus, with the digital transformations in the retail sector, new business models appear. And new digital skills are outlined as necessary for brands to adapt to change.
The irruption of digital in retail
The truth is that the birth of purely digital competitors indicates that the future of retail will have little to do with the past. Some data guarantee this:
According to Think with Google studies, of every 5 online purchases, one involves offline search processes. And, conversely, 1 in 3 purchases in the physical store is preceded by queries in the online world.
In addition, of every 100 purchases in a physical store, 35 have had some digital contact.
And, interestingly, the users who buy online are the ones who consume the most fashion in a physical store. More than 77% of fashion buyers have made online purchases in the last year.
All this leads to one of the strength ideas of the document “AI, the future of retail” prepared by Adigital: “emotions and hyperpersonalization are a fundamental part of a shopping experience that must become magical in order to make the customer fall in love.”
Therefore, it seems that retail is increasingly about experiences and not so much about shopping. And in that type of consumption emotions are much more influential than the economy itself.
8 digital transformations in the retail sector in 2020 to keep track of
What will the future of retail hold? It is not easy to predict. However, more and more analyst are identifying some of the trends that cause the application of digital transformations in the retail sector. Artificial intelligence, cloud, Big Data, Blockchain, Internet of things, chatbots, programmatic buying, … are increasingly widespread concepts when it comes to analyzing where retail is heading.
But what may seem like science fiction for some brands, others are already applying it in their day to day use. These are 8 of the digital transformations in the retail sector that are already habitual and that are modifying the retail industry:
Automate allows regular operations to be faster and more efficient. Not only that, but it is also perfect for connecting on and off. Having automated workflows and predefined scenarios allows omnichannel work. And, what is even more important, automation makes possible a unique vision of the client, regardless of the channel through which he contacts the company.
But for this, real-time access to the data and behavior of each client is essential. Only in this way, brands can take advantage of one of the digital transformations in the retail sector. Automation will make it possible to create new strategies and content adapted to each specific user. And offer them where and when you need them.
2.- Fast shipments
One of the aspects that most affect retail is what is known as the Amazon effect. The practices that this platform is launching force to rethink the current way of doing many businesses.
One of these practices, which is on its way to becoming a commodity, is the fast delivery of purchases made in digital environments. And it’s no longer about ideas like Amazon Prime, which take purchases to homes within 24 hours. The trend has increased with the use of drones, which are being tested and delivering purchases within hours of being ordered.
Moreover, the Amazon supermarket prototype equipped with cameras and sensors instead of cashiers affects this trend. The technology applied to this physical supermarket allows customers to take the products and take them home without having to checkout.
3.- Increase of showrooming and webrooming
One of the main debates in recent times has been the reference to the adaptation of retail companies to the digital environment. And how the adoption of smartphones in any area of society affected this type of business.
Once the period of uncertainty has passed, everything seems to indicate that digital transformations in the retail sector have new and interesting practices. These include that smartphones will no longer be considered enemies of traditional retail. And that practices like the following appear:
Showrooming- As defined in its Wikipedia entry, it is the action of searching and testing products in traditional stores and then making purchases in electronic stores.
Webrooming- It is the opposite action. And that, despite widespread opinion, is the most widespread. In this process, users visit an ecommerce to learn more about the products. Subsequently, the purchase is made in the physical store.
4.- Social shopping
It could not be otherwise. Social media platforms such as Facebook, Pinterest or Instagram, which have hundreds of millions of users, have begun to implement tools that favor the purchase. And with them appear new ways to face the buying process.
This is one of the digital transformations in the retail sector that will change habits the most. It is already possible to take a picture of a garment and send it to your friends for opinions. And, even, to be able to buy it later from the smartphone.
The future also happens because it is the system itself that makes recommendations based on several aspects: from the size itself to previous purchases. Without forgetting, even more interesting, the recommendations based on the purchases of members of your own digital community.
The union of virtual and physical environments will give a new air to the traditional stores. Virtual testers are already being implemented that allow testing without having the garment on top.
But virtual reality and augmented reality go much further. In the medium term any retail will offer an immersion experience that takes the user beyond the physical space. Which will help, for example, to decide a trip or another depending on the experience.
6.- The power of data
Knowing the behavior of your users is already one of the keys to any digital strategy. For this, it is essential to have enough data of all kinds. Not only digital behavior data is necessary. The information obtained in physical space is also vital.
Thus, some of the digital transformations in the retail sector mentioned will not be possible without adequate data collection. Reason why platforms and tools will be necessary both to collect and interpret that data.
7.- On-off convergence
In a way, the barriers between digital and face-to-face worlds are being erased. On the one hand, virtual reality adds a digital layer in physical retail. But, in addition, more and more ecommerce’s are committed to having face-to-face spaces in which to serve their users.
Thus, they continue to gain value practices that combine the best of each of these worlds. Choosing an on-off convergence that will allow new digital transformations to be applied in the retail sector. Among them are:
Click & Mortar: A model that combines the advantages of both types of sales: online businesses that evolve to physical and physical businesses that sell online. It is the user who decides on which channels to start and where to close the purchase.
Click & Collect: In this case, users choose the flexibility of online shopping (Click) that they can collect (Collect) later.
8.- Customization to find recommendations
However, if there is a trend that stands out above all and that would be very complicated without the application of the main digital transformations in the retail sector, it is personalization. Every client wants to feel that they are treated uniquely.
Do you know if your customers like to receive newsletters where they can find out about the products you receive this week? Do they prefer to go through the trade and then receive their purchases directly at home? Do they feel more loyal if you know they like to pay in cash?
It is essential that you know the answers to these and many other questions. To be able to offer each client what he needs at the moment he expects it. Because only then can you benefit from its subsequent recommendations to friends and family.
And that is where much of the success of the future retail lies: in earning the ear of its current customers. Something that will not be easy to achieve without proper customization. Which, in turn, depends on digital transformations in the retail sector such as VR or analytics based on professional tools.