How Retailers Are Managing Their Digital Transformations

How Retailers Are Managing Their Digital Transformations

This article was first published on .

It’s become clichéd to say that retailers are going through a rough patch due to a lack of digital clarity, clichéd but not necessarily true. Retailers going through a rough patch are, for the most part, massive corporations modeled on the brick and mortar past. It would actually be unfair to say that many of these companies which have recently ended up under bankruptcy protection, such as Radio Shack, The Limited, and Toys R Us, didn’t see that a digital strategy was the way to save their business. What was likely the case, is that these companies were so big, so bureaucratic, and so siloed that it was impossible to make any headway on a truly digital transformation in a timely fashion.

So rather than tell the same old story about why certain retailers couldn’t break through to the digital age, let’s take a look at how retailers can continue their success online.

Omnichannel Marketing

Domino’s Pizza Chief Digital Officer, Dennis Maloney, stated in a recent think with Google article, “We’re an omnichannel business. Our customers are free to flip between interacting with us digitally or physically, depending on where they are and what they’re doing. Regardless of which channel they’re using, we need to continue to make sure their experience is seamless and consistent. To achieve this, we have to make sure everyone at every level of our business — from IT to retail — is working toward the common goal of removing friction from the customer experience”.

For Domino’s that meant getting rid of the silo mentality. It meant aligning groups so that online, offline, research and IT were all working together. The mentality came from the top down, with the C-suite and senior level executives working together as well.

Domino’s wins and fails as a team, no matter which channel consumers choose to purchase their pizza from. By recognizing the versatility of an omnichannel approach, it is making sure that the consumer comes first.


But more than just omnichannel marketing and fragmented business approach is necessary in order for retailers to fully transform digitally. As a personalization technique, Domino’s allows customers to complete a profile to retain their favorite order, complementing its omnichannel approach, and other companies are following a similar strategy. Among those are REI, with its invaluable content, and Walmart, with its unending resources to experiment with emerging technologies. Sephora’s Pocket Contour Class, though, takes personalization to the next level .

Users upload a photo of themselves to the Sephora app which automatically analyzes their face shape. From there, it asks the user a few questions on the type of makeup they prefer and then provides both a tutorial on how to properly apply this makeup based on their own face and tastes, while also giving product advice along the way.

Personalization doesn’t get much more personal than giving suggestions based on a user’s facial features. When consumers feel like the buying process is tailored to them, it gives them a new perspective of empowerment and is therefore likelier to result in a sale.

Real Time Mobile

So what’ the next step in a retailer’s journey to digital transformation? Combining omnichannel and personalization strategies with a mobile strategy is arguably top of the list. Proximity marketing or geo targeting, as it’s sometimes called, has been rolled out to over 4,500 Rite Aid locations , where they are able to hand out coupons and other offers in real time.

By utilizing beacons in every store, retailers are able to send personalized messages to people in their brick and mortar stores which encapsulate the omnichannel approach while still hitting the personalization mark.

What all these strategies have in common is the need for a digital platform which serves as the bedrock for the entire company and the need for great content to engage customers and prospects. Whether it’s omnichannel marketing, personalization, or real time mobile technology, the content created for each campaign and the ability to manage it is ultimately what will determine success.

So, retailing c-suites are coming around to the idea of digital transformation . But as the industry evolves and the fittest retailers survive, the brick and mortar past likely won’t be completely forgotten. Instead, a more agile business model with a digital mindset will weave together the past and the present, and ready the industry for the future.

Douglas Eldridge Douglas Eldridge

Doug Eldridge has worked in marketing and communications for fifteen years, with experience in marketing agencies and software vendors, he’s written for CMSWire, eContent Magazine and various industry blogs. Doug is based in Denver, Colorado, is an alumnus of censhare US and while he is not writing, he is a typical Coloradan, which means a lot of time in mountains and breweries.

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