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In part one of my guide to digitalisation in retail, we explored the first three steps to starting the digitalisation process, including the importance of profiling your customers, revisiting your roadmap and conducting a technology evaluation.

The aim of the first three steps to digitalisation is to alter the mind-set of your retail business to encourage the move away from a product-focused business model, to one that keeps the customer at the heart.

Why? In a recent study global study into retailers by Dunhumby it was revealed that the ‘top 25% of customer-centric retailers witnessed a sales increase on average of 3%, while their market share grew by 7%’. It is therefore no surprise that customers engage more with the retailers that have taken the time to understand their needs and surpass their expectations.

Now, let’s take a look at the next three steps in your journey to digitalisation and how they align with a customer-centric business model…

4. Build and recruit your digital dream team

This doesn’t mean that you need to have a completely new workforce, but it does mean that your current employees will need some retraining in order to develop the skills required to meet your new business goals. Training your employees is so important when it comes to a successful digitalisation journey; you don’t want to lose your team, or cause dissatisfaction across your organisation, this will only hinder your progress.

However, you will need to invest in new employees too with skills in areas such as machine learning and data science to process your data and identify patterns and trends for product development and customer buying habits.

5. Inventory your business from end-to-end

Have any of your passionate employees already started to digitalise and automate parts of their role to boost their productivity? Do you have employees who have been using the same spreadsheet for 10+ years to record inventory? How much of your software is outdated?

From your assets (including your employees) to your activities, you need to inventory your business from end-to-end to assess its fit into your new digital, customer-centric business model. This way, you’ll be able to reallocate resources, identify gaps and also realise and maximise any hidden strengths.

Ensuring that all of your assets and activities are aligned with your goals is the only way to digitalise successfully.

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6. Adopt a data culture

Better data is the key to eliminating any uncertainties and will help you on your journey to digitalisation. Adopting a data culture isn’t something that will happen overnight in your organisation, but the time and effort will all be worth it.

Everyone in your organisation should not only value your data but actively engage with it and be able to use it to benefit their everyday work. From marketing departments using data to better understand customers and to target and segment audiences, to warehouse pickers who are able to calculate the most direct route to the product that they need, saving them time; data has a place in all of our job roles.

Using data will also enable your employees to make business decisions based on facts, rather than gut feel and look for insights to enhance their performance and results of their work which will in turn improve your customer satisfaction – a little improvement has the ability to go a long way.

Once your employees start to benefit from using data, your culture will thrive on it, paving the way for further digitalisation processes to be introduced.

This is only the beginning…

From this post, I hope that you’ve come to realise that digitalisation is a journey and while that sounds cliché, it’s true. From profiling your customers to building a team and adopting a data culture, there really is no stone in your business that digitalisation will leave unturned.

Remember, keep your customer at the centre of your new strategy and align their needs and expectations with your digitalisation goals, every step of the way.

If you’d like to know more about starting your digital transformation in retail, you can download our short guide here, or connect with me on LinkedIn.

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