Digital Strategies Are Changing Retail Forever. Where's Yours?

digital strategies do you have one

We are at a critical point in the retail industry.

As large brick and mortar retail stores continue to shutter and industry experts keep shouting buzzwords like big data, personalization, and omnichannel, the retail landscape is shifting fast.

Sure, the terminology might make it sound like these are all passing fads but, rest assured, they're not.

One major industry after another is taking the "adapt or die" approach to the digital transformation, as highlighted in this recent study by Russell Reynolds Associates.

Each year, they survey over 2,000 high-level executives to determine the anticipated impact of digital strategies on over 15 different industries.

So, what industries are poised for disruption?

digital strategies disrupting major industries

Both telecom and retail are listed in the top 5 at 2nd and 4th, respectively.

If you're a wireless services dealer, that's a double whammy, and it should really get you thinking about what your current strategies look like.

In fact, when's the last time you took a good hard look at them?

What it means to have a digital strategy

Having a solid digital strategy essentially means that your business decisions will be data-focused and based on digital solutions.

Many of the industries listed in this survey are massive and well established, meaning they are deeply rooted in their long-held business practices.

For example, many of the tasks and procedures that many retailers still use could easily be automated, saving both time and money. 

Customer management and communication in particular is something that is advancing at an incredible rate, thanks to new digital and data-focused technologies.

In English, Doc

You could be the pizza parlor who still takes orders manually with a pen and paper, or you could be the one with the app that tells you exactly who is calling you, what they always like to order, and how you should reward them for ordering food from you for the 3rd time this week.

You could be the clothing store who sends out invites for the launch of your new fashion line to your neighborhood's mailboxes, or you could be the one who creates a targeted campaign on social media, find only people who are interested in what you're selling, and gain loyal new followers of your brand.

You could be the insurance broker forcing your sales reps to use the "tried and true" operating system from 10 years ago, or you could be the one empowering your reps with software that will give them the data they need to not just be successful, but excel at what they do.

It doesn't need to be complicated, but there does need to be a uniform understanding of what your digital strategy is throughout your entire organization.

It starts at the top

The thing is, in order for you to bring about this kind of change in your business, it has to come from the top and work its way down.

Hiring the right people with this forward-thinking mentality will ensure your whole organization falls in line.

The best executives will create digital processes and strategies for your whole organization to implement, keeping your business from becoming a dinosaur in your industryIt's the reason Chief Data, Analytics, and Digital Officers are becoming more common.

The businesses that invest in a true digital strategy will be the ones leading the pack as "big data" becomes more essential every day.

Will you be one of them?

(header image via SellOrElse)

About the Author

Kevin Gervais

He started coding at age 7. His first board meeting was at age 14. He was using Facebook before it was cool (2005). You'll often find Kevin thinking about the future of retail, applied AI and how to create world-class buying experiences.

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