Have you bridged the new digital divide yet

Today, it is very important for retailers to adapt to the digital route for doing trade. Not only this, but retailers should take more keen interest in bridging the new digital divide for providing consumers a seamless experience.
Bridging the digital divide

In the last decade, the face of retail has changed from old-age kirana stores in bylanes to tech-enabled experiential stores, growing exponentially to be a $1.1 trillion market by 2020. In this process, digital is no longer a new frontier for retail, but a business imperative. A recent research sheds light on how to create the right mix of seamless platforms.

It’s not a secret that many retailers have failed to leverage the potential of digital trade, albeit the country taking steps towards ‘Digital India’. As they fail to meet the digital expectations of new age consumers, a gap- ‘the new digital divide’ does more harm than good to any business, tells a recent research conducted by Deloitte. According to the research, this gap is different in nature from the standard notion of ‘digital divide’ that describes socio-economic differences based on access to information technologies.

The new digital divide not only poses a serious threat to the overall revenue generated by retailers, but also threatens to restrict the consumers. If addressed, it could go a long way in helping the retailers understand the customers’ shopping habits even when in-store, the study highlights.

Sharing insights on creating the right mix of seamless platforms to attract more customers, the study has made some key suggestions for retailers. Accordingly, retailers should:

Tailor customer experience:
The research suggests that the features and functionality customers encounter at each touch point, should correspond with the activity of the moment. For instance, what he/she is looking for, or are they buying or just window shopping. The study stresses that retailers should not create a single platform solution that caters same experience across each device or platform.

Consistent but overall different:
Shoppers look for experiences that are consistent in terms of branding and information across digital device platforms. For example, mobile apps and websites should focus primarily on product information, discounts and ratings.

Better, not more functions:
Customers want better, but not more tools, the research says. To capture greater market share, retailers should build more streamlined functionality –fewer necessary clicks in the websites and mobile apps. That way, customers will use the dedicated apps instead of general search engines that might lead them to a competitor’s site. Conversion rate increases by 12 percent when customers use the retailer’s own app or site to shop.

The shoppers’ paradox;
When it comes to digitally influenced shopping environment, ‘less is more’. When a shopper scrolls down the screen of a mobile or a laptop, he/she doesn’t want to have to navigate through endless layers of a website but get to the right page quickly to find the preferred choices. Also, a buyer wants the retailer to recognize when they are just buying and when they are simply shopping.

Don’t focus on conversion at every touchpoint:
If a customer is browsing or comparing products or prices, help him/her do that. If they are ready to buy, help them check out and avoid unnecessary wait time. Treat e-commerce, tablets, and mobile platforms as shopping engines, not just conversion engines.

Be social media friendly:
Social media outlets can be valuable tools for both customers and retailers. In a preferred scenario, product information, style expertise (from bloggers, designers, etc.), and personal recommendations can be integrated strategically into the broader shopping experience. To drive traffic to a brand store, retailers should be creative and confident in promoting relevant products to customers through social media. 

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