Digital Transformation in Retail

Here's a look at how Digitalization is affecting Retail experiences across the value chain.
Retail
Retail landscape is changing at a pace never imagined. It started with disruptive technologies paving the way for transformed experiences and customers leading the need for change. And today the transformation is touching other facets of an enterprise forcing businesses to re-invent their business processes and even re-think business models!
Digital Transformation today is to look past marginal enhancements and focus on the big picture through a convergence of digital technologies that enable automation, digitalization and insights driven processes – customer processes and operational processes.  
Here’s a look at how Digitalization is affecting Retail experiences across the value chain-
In-store experience- Stores today have become the center of all retail activity. And digital transformation in-store happens when retailers deliver tailored experiences to customer through leveraging multiple technologies. For example, analyzing customer preferences through behavioral analytics, detecting customer location and their path to purchase in-store and delivering context-aware, personalized promotions on mobile devices is a transformational customer journey that retailers can visualize and pilot.
Marketing- Transforming the Retail marketing function is essentially about automation and understanding the customer in greater detail through analytics and devising targeted and personalized engagement strategies across multiple traditional and digital marketing channels. The challenge, however, lies in attributing the marketing spend and outcome across digital and traditional channels.
Customer Service - New-age commerce demands that traditional and digital channels complement each other and be used simultaneously to enrich customer experience, loyalty and improve retention. Specifically, CRM systems of the past are transforming to new age CRM solutions that provide not only information but also insights and 360-degree view of customer transactions, interactions and social engagements.
Supply chain- The biggest challenge enterprises face today is to formulate a flexible and transparent supply chain architecture, to ensure they don't over or under-sell and that they have accurate account of their stocks. Digital Transformation enables absolute visibility for retailers across their supply chain by integrating robust information across different channels to enhance operational excellence, increase agility, minimize costs and mitigate risks. RFID, BLE and other emerging IoT sensors would be instrumental in enabling such a digital supply chains.
Buying/ Merchandising - Understanding the precise extent of demand for products is becoming increasingly imperative with increasing pressure on margin and highly competitive landscape. Technologies like RFID, IoT, etc. help retailers keep a tab on supply status through real-time updates of on-hand, on-order, in-transit and open-to-buy products. Insights derived from multiple sales and engagement channels, including customer product ratings and social sentiments, in a single view will help retailers extract insights on demand ensuring better forecasts that would yield better results.
Thus, to take on the Digital Transformation challenge head-on, Retailers need a well thought out game plan and also a quick plan of action in place before competition outpaces them. A detailed paper on ‘A 30 day Action Plan’ outlines some key challenges and a thought framework for Retailers to arrive at a 30 day Digital Transformation action plan. 
 
Authored by: Anitha Rajagopalan, Retail and Omni-Channel Consultant, Happiest Minds
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