Posted: Monday 15th February 2021 in Events & Webinars.

Everyone is doing it. Whether you’re M&S, Homebase, or TedBaker, all our high street retailers are currently going through a digital transformation. But what is Digital Transformation? 

At Summit, we went out into the industry to try and find the very best in class definition of digital transformation. 

  • Gartner – Digital transformation refers to everything from IT modernisation (for example, cloud computing), to digital optimisation, to the invention of new digital business models. 
  • Deloitte – Digital transformation is all about becoming a digital enterprise – an organisation that uses technology to continuously evolve all aspects of its business models (what it offers, how it interacts with customers and how it operates). 
  • SalesForce – Digital transformation is the process of using digital technologies to create new – or modify existing – business processes, culture, and customer experiences to meet changing business and market requirements. 

If you’re anything like me, you’re probably a bit confused right now. It still doesn’t tell me what digital transformation is, when I should be doing it and how I should be doing it. 

At Summit, we love to make the complex simple, so using our knowledge and research, we developed our own definition: 

“Do the stuff that customers love, online.” 

Simply replicate the brand experiences, the USPs of your business, the stuff customers really like that make your brand famous, and do them online. 

favourite example of ours 

We are very lucky to have worked with Aldi for a long time. It is a bargain hunters treasure hunt, with a combination of groceries and special buys creating the fun atmosphere we associate with them. You start and finish your journey with Aldi. You don’t know exactly what you are going to buy when you go in the store, but you see the products, their price, get excited, then purchase. 

So, how did Aldi replicate this online? 

They took all the great things of their store; the slight randomness, the quirkiness, the fact that they know you’re not going to break your journey and go look for other products elsewhere, and they created that same principle online.  

For example, you can see a wildlife camera, faux fur cushions and a powergirl robot toy all within the same frame. They could very easily categorise these products more effectively and clearly, but they know customers come to Aldi for this treasure hunt experience. 

Now many of you will be saying “Well that’s Aldi, I’m not the same as Aldi”. But the one thing that is clear; digital transformation isn’t just on trend because it’s the latest buzzword. It’s because all the data points are telling retailers and brands “We have to go on this journey”. 

High street footfall is in decline as are number of shops selling there: 

Convenience and price are still the leading reasons for shopping online: 

Customers are drawn online for the convenience and the prices. Online you are able to purchase at any time of day, and you are able to compare the prices of products easily, meaning you can always find the best deal and save the most money. 

Customer needs have not changed! 

We need to remember, the customer hasn’t changed. Whether you’re in the offline world on the high street or an out-of-town shopping centre, or the online world with your own e-commerce website, customers haven’t changed. No matter where you are positioned, the 4 Ps of marketing are still key fundamentals. 

  1. Products of quality, that meet their needs. 
  1. Placed in easy to find locations, that are convenient for them. 
  1. Promoted and amplified through relevant channels. 
  1. Priced competitively within the broader market. 

The Best Transformations 

Below are a variety of different examples of digital transformation from the end of 2020, within different stages of the customer funnel. 

Awareness: Selfridges are known for their amazing, unique, innovative window displays to drive footfall into their stores over the Christmas period, but this has been a great challenge throughout the pandemic as they are not seeing the same footfall they would normally get. So, they have had to challenge themselves, and think about how they can drive the same level of engagement online.  They created a unique Christmas content hub, full of exciting, bold, diverse content. They have tried to emulate what would usually be shown in their window displays, online. 

Consideration: Pandora are another great example. They are known for their in-store experience, that try before you buy, that ability to touch and feel the products and really speak to somebody one to one about the products that you’re self-gifting, or gifting for another person. During the pandemic, we have seen huge growth of the jewellery category online, 57% YoY, so there is a real opportunity for Pandora to tap into that and really cement themselves as part of that consideration stage within the jewellery sector. So what they have done is taken the reasons people shop with them and brought them online, creating the virtual try-on, allowing consumers to digitally try-on the rings before they purchase. They have also launched their own live advice platform, allowing people to speak to those store experts about the products they in-tend to purchase, digitally. 

Conversion & LoyaltyJoules was founded by Tom Joule when he started selling clothing and wellies at country shows, and he really understood his customer. They wanted that country feel with a twist, with pops of colour and patterns to reflect their personality. Fast forward a little bit, and they had the launch of their website, which has grown massively throughout the pandemic, accounting for 70% of their total sales. Continue to fast forward, and they have now launched Friends of Joules which is their online marketplace, tapping into the necessity of online gifting by curating a market town shipping experience online. 

How to ‘Digitally Transform’ 

At Summit, we have our top 3 ways to accelerate Digital Transformation: 

Research the customer journey to prioritise the most important customer touchpoints  

  • Figure out what your customers like and do more of it. 
  • What are the reason customers pick your brand, buy from your brand, stay loyal to your brand? 
  • And you want to be data driven, using multiple data sets; sales data, loyalty data, external data (research and survey your customers), audit your market. 

Scorecard your digital proposition to prevent wasting budget and leaking customers 

  • Audit how good you are against your competitors and the best in class and audit your proposition to locate where you could be better and where you should make that next investment. 

Prove the value with proof of concept to convince your investors  

  • You need absolute confidence that whatever you are going to roll out is going to work. The beauty of digital is the access to the data and the speed to market. Use it and prove the value. 

If you would like to know what you should be doing to digitally transform your business, get in touch with us today and for more information on Digital Transformation, join our first webinar in The Retail Reset webinar series, “How to exceed customers’ digital expectations in 2021.”