A digital first approach is essential to retail success
Through a special arrangement, what follows is a summary of an article from WayfinD, a quarterly e-magazine filled with insights, trends and predictions from the retail and foodservice experts at WD Partners.
Modern shopping keeps getting better, easier, faster, cheaper and smarter — for the consumer, that is.
And because of newish shopping tools and their ease of use for everything, shopping has become intertwined with everyday life. Pick up the kid, buy a sweater, check the weather, ship the Cheerios next-day all in one fell swoop. Shopping is no longer an “event”, it’s just another thing we have to do today, another button to push.
Given the recent past, “digital first” has become an edict. It’s how the customer thinks and, subsequently, it must also be how we think.
As we see it, digital first is asking us to be:
Empathetic: You are the consumer! How do you “work” your life today? How do your kids, your partner, your friends live their lives? Why do you use your phone/anything engine as a first step for … everything? How do you think about buying something? What are your expectations? The key to modern business today lies within the walls of the empathy castle so, to better understand this landscape, take notice.
Organized to the consumer: Are we still in classic 1980’s silos and kingdoms? The consumer does not care about our HR dept or our development group or how we’re organized at all. All they care about is that they get what they want, how and when they want it — fast. To meet that demand, we have to organize across silos to what the consumer is asking for. Why is the 900-lb gorilla in Seattle able to out-innovate all retailers all the time? Fundamentally, it’s due to digital first thinking. Are we also organized around consumer driven “projects” and their swift implementation?
Fast: Fast to empathy. Fast to understand the consumer. Fast to change our culture. Fast to try new things. Fast to organize for speed. Fast to dump the old. It’s no longer “fail fast,” it’s just plain “fast.” When planning the next consumer driven program, like turning stores into fulfillment centers, think of how long something like that used to take and cut it in half. That — is a digital first plan.
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: How has the definition of being digital first morphed in recent years? What steps are many retailers still missing? Does retail know enough to move past “fail fast” to just plain “fast”?