5 Digital Transformation Initiatives for Today’s Retailers
The retail space has undergone a vast transformation in recent years, with shoppers growing accustomed to ordering nearly any product or service online. But buyers aren’t the only ones changing their habits; retailers must digitally transform their business processes to keep pace with consumer preferences and expectations. This blog explores five crucial technology initiatives for retail professionals.
1. Digital contracting
Contracts are everywhere in retail—from HR to procurement, sales and service—and when they’re not properly drafted or managed, they can be costly. By one estimate, up to 15 percent of annual revenue is lost each year through contractual delays, sluggish processes and other snafus. It’s no wonder; chasing paper contracts can take months and put you behind other retailers who are able to offer products from new vendors faster.
Digitizing the contracting process with a modern agreement platform increases efficiency and puts you ahead of the competition. Digital contracts are relevant to every department across the business, can be rolled out in weeks and deliver return on investment almost immediately—with little to no risk.
2. Data collection
Data should be treated as a north star that guides all other digital initiatives and every aspect of your retail business from layout to inventory. Data allows you to personalize and improve the customer experience, so it’s crucial to make sure you’re collecting and using it whenever possible.
In today’s world of instant accessibility, you don’t have to go far to search for that data. You can collect it through the systems you’re already using, such as loyalty programs, point-of-sale software and order management tools. Examples include:
- Point of sale
- Loyalty programs
- Web analytics
- Order and Warehouse Management Systems
By now, most retailers recognize the importance of making data-driven decisions. Yet, a recent report detailed how just a fraction of companies understand how to use the data they’ve collected.
Data analytics is a challenge for every industry, including retail, but prioritizing it can give you a competitive advantage. For example, you can better allocate resources when you use data to answer questions such as:
- How do customers interact with your website (popular pages, products, time spent, etc.)?
- Do some AI recommendations increase basket size more than others?
- Where do customers drop out of the online buying process (abandoned carts)?
- How long does in-store checkout take across geographies—can one store learn from another?
With the amount of data available today, you need tools to filter and analyze all that information. But this isn’t just a technology decision. It’s a shift in mindset that requires getting leadership to buy into using data to inform decision making. Useful technologies to consider include Board, Alteryx, ThoughtSpot.
4. The Cloud
Online storefronts hosted in static legacy data centers can pose severe limitations in terms of scalability, performance, security and total cost of ownership. It’s a significant point to note during a time when ecommerce continues to grow year-over-year.
Moving to the cloud is inevitable as retail engages with customers across multiple channels—including online, in person and smartphotes—using new digital capabilities. Information must be accessible from practically anywhere, at any time.
Cloud computing services—such as AWS, Google Cloud, or Microsoft Azure—offer more flexibility, efficiencies and scalability than traditional systems. If you’re looking for prebuilt clouds for specific purposes, consider products such as Salesforce Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, or Community Cloud.
5. Integrated approach
Retail is changing as competition intensifies, underscoring the importance of operating as efficiently as possible across departments. It means that when building a technology stack, retailers must take a more strategic and integrated approach that includes:
- Choosing a software platform that can be used throughout your organization, rather than using different systems in each department
- Ensuring new systems are compatible with existing tools
- Putting core business systems in place, including: communication, productivity and connectivity solutions
- Implementing systems now that will also suit your business needs in the future
DocuSign eSignature and DocuSign CLM help retailers digitally transform how they interact with customers, vendors and employees. DocuSign also offers over prebuilt 400 integrations that connect to the systems where work gets done.
Learn more about DocuSign solutions for retail.