You use hundreds of hours on training employees, spend thousands of dollars on marketing materials and send dozens of deals to customers in hopes of improving business performance. This is a day-to-day reality for a retail organization. But getting and keeping loyal customers requires more than just a few coupons.
This uphill battle is only getting steeper. Why? Two words: Digital Transformation.
Microsoft recently released a white paper on “transforming retail for the digital age” that describes the new capabilities retailers require if they hope to remain competitive in the market. In this post, we’ll highlight some key points and show where a digital asset management (DAM) solution fits into this fight to drive customer experience, and ultimately, sales.
Digital Transformation in the Retail Space
For the first time in decades, technology is surpassing company business processes, leaving companies frantic to catch up. But it’s not enough to take existing processes and try to digitize them. Microsoft emphasizes that to be successful, companies need to reimagine their customer experience and processes in at least these 4 ways:
1. Equip Store Associates With Digital Tools
To create a truly personalized experience for customers, associates need to be able to have on-the-fly access to customer profiles and product information, which will allow them to better discover customer needs and preferences. Customers want to feel like they’re important to the company, and small touches like knowing their last purchases, colour preferences, etc., can make a huge difference in brand experience. Digital savvy companies are already using tablets and mobile devices to equip their associates with instant access to inventory, related products, product information, and even check-out capabilities. These capabilities lead to reduced wait times, more efficient staff, more personalized experiences, and ultimately, increased sales.
2. Use Smarter Technology Within Stores
Historically, it was near impossible to offer personalized messaging and experiences in a physical store. Now, with the emergence of digital signs and in-store kiosks, the ability to offer this kind of experience is in reach. Using the cloud and predictive data analytics, companies can predict what customers want, and use their in-store signs, as well as mobile devices to act on those predictions.
3. Bridge the Gap Between the Head Office and In-Store Associates
Right now there’s a key flaw in the structure of retail organizations: typically, communication between the head office and store associates is one-way and very limited. As digital transformation takes form, the ability to break down the siloes between these two becomes much more attainable. Generating two-way portals that allow for more consistent communication on product information, store designs, training and other touchpoints will allow both sides to feel more in-control, collaborative and less dependent on each other. The ability for in-store associates to work closely with head office departments, such as design, marketing and buying also allows for more effective feedback and better decision making moving forward.
4. Figure Digital Asset Management Into Your Strategy
It’s been argued that digital asset management (DAM) is set-up to be “the hub of digital transformation.” This argument stems from the fact that all content created, whether it’s a website page, social media post, or in-store sign, comes back to the DAM system in one way or another. As the central hub for all photos, videos and documents, a DAM has become the ultimate enabler for effective collaboration across offices, departments and stores.
And with ever-increasing integrations with commerce, social media and creative platforms (such as Adobe suite), DAM is truly becoming the one-stop-shop for content creation and distribution.
With in-app editing of Office 365 docs you can even edit inside your DAM
Where DAM becomes even more important is from the standpoint of compliance. With instant access to up-to-date reports, training material, in-store display set-ups & signs, and other important materials, in-store associates will be equipped with anything they need to pass a compliance visit. And with mobile applications, all this material can be accessed on-the-go via mobile devices or tablets.
For any retailer truly looking to transform themselves, Microsoft’s whitepaper is worth a personal read: