Retail x Digitalization: How to Use Technology to Overcome Today’s Challenges

digitalization in retail

More than a year has passed since we entered this strange new era. Besides its obvious disadvantages, COVID-19 has also brought the renaissance of everything digital. Many industries have started to catch up and reshape their operations to become disruptors in these disrupted times.

What about retail? How can retailers ensure that they stay on top of their game even with the world changing so rapidly and unpredictably?

Well, the solution is to pick up the pace and make everything more predictable.

Let’s see how.

Smarter decisions with machine learning

One thing to start with when it comes to making smarter decisions is, well, predicting the unpredictable. Making any business decision based on gut feeling simply doesn’t work anymore.

But you can still take those decisions to the next level. Machine learning (ML) can be used for many purposes in the retail industry. From recommendation engines to increasing customer loyalty, you can leverage the power of ML to make your business succeed.

ML can help you go through, sort, and analyze terabytes of data within a short time. It can also take various factors into account, providing insights to find the optimal solution tailored to your business needs.

As a bonus, while the human brain can become exhausted (and also biased) when making business decisions, an ML algorithm has no such boundaries.

Data and analytics

In the retail business, one thing is for sure: There is a LOT of data at hand. Data on customers, locations, inventory, and anything else you can think of.

You’ve heard it before and we’ll say it again: Data is the new oil. But what is the point of having oil if you don’t use it to fuel anything? The same goes for data.

According to a recent study, only 16% of retailers consider themselves experts when it comes to handling their data.

This means that 84% don’t use their data in a way that serves their business best. If you’re in that 84%, you can still  start being smart about your data and get ahead of the competition. It’s never too late.

With real-time, up-to-date data analytics, you can achieve better customer experience, overcome the caveats of traditional analytics, and most important of all, stop spending your money on unnecessary tools and solutions.

Cloud infrastructure: a way to be more cost-efficient

We could go on and on about why we love the cloud.

Constant availability and scalability are crucial when it comes to a sector where so many stakeholders are involved. Look at this case study from the travel industry and see that this is exactly what they achieved by moving their operations to Google Cloud.

When you operate your business on the cloud, you only pay for what you use. Traditional on-prem servers can take up space and take a lot of money out of your budget which could be used elsewhere.

Finally (on our list, but more can be found here), the switch to Google Cloud could not be easier and more seamless: You can integrate it with any ERP system to make sure nothing gets lost during migration.

360° view of the customer

Few industries are as customer-centric as retail. You have to put your clients at the core of your business to succeed.

Of course, you can throw around some fancy buzzwords like segmentation and personalization, but at the end of the day it’s all about knowing who your customers are. You need to know their motivations, their drive, and their needs.

What if we told you that it’s all there in your data? All you have to do is use that data in a smart way to unlock its real value.

Activity, interaction with your products and services, comments, status, loyalty programs… Based on this data on past and present behavior, you can easily predict the future, and be even one step ahead of your customers, think like they do, and increase their love and loyalty for your brand.

Digitalization in retail: start small and build up from there

When you start out on the road to digitalization in the retail industry, these steps might sound scary at first. What you need to understand is that it is a long process with several smaller components.

You don’t need to implement everything at once. Instead, start small, refine, align, and work on those smaller parts until you have a well-working, up-to-date digital business. If you need a partner to hold your hand throughout the entire journey and beyond, we’re here for you.

If you want to learn more, feel free to ping us or read the customer success story about a solution we implemented for one of Denmark’s biggest retailers.