Exploring the Foundation for Digital Transformation


A recent survey by National Retail Federation (NRF) revealed that 67% of Generation Z shoppers patronize brick-and-mortar stores most of the time. This dual preference contradicts the notion that this generation always put digital first. Yet they realize and value the importance of the hands-on in-store experience. While these customers enjoy shopping online, they are not averse to the idea of going to the store.

Undoubtedly, there is some hype surrounding digital transformation in the stores and it is by no means an easy task to implement the right set of digital-physical standards. Upgrading such standards is even more complex as consumer and associate behavior are swiftly evolving every day. While store digital transformation is a modern day retail prerequisite for attaining deeper customer and associate engagement, every retail format is different and requirements (both customer facing and back-end) will vary considerably. So, how should retail store, marketing, digital and IT executives execute a comprehensive approach?  Can retailers address digital transformation in the stores to match best-in-class digital-physical experiences that have a lasting effect on customer and associate experience in equal measure?

One of the ways that a retailer can distinguish itself is by providing a pleasant customer-buying journey. As modern retailing is gradually shifting towards more web-based and app-based services, a well-designed, self-explanatory and interactive user experience is the first step towards customer satisfaction. In fact, customer expectations have already been shaped by best-in-class experiences across categories like transportation (Uber) and movie recommendations (Netflix). Customers are looking for a similar kind of experience in retail.

For instance, Ensemble IQ data shows that 86% of retailers agree that having a user experience standard is extremely important or critical; fewer than 15% feel that such experience can be ignored. To add, 89% of retailers already have a defined user experience standard for application performance in place.

Ensemble IQ conducted a recent IT executive survey which revealed that while consumer industries pay attention to digital transformation initiatives, they need to place equal importance on customer facing store-centric omni-commerce application upgrades, associate user experience and backend processes and tools to support digital transformation. These processes and tools include network readiness, cloud migration and information security.

In order to shed light on developing a store digital transformation paradigm that can address short-mid-term needs and can constantly evolve to suit customer and evolutionary technology, Ensemble IQ principal analyst (yours truly) triangulated and co-developed knowledge sharing with the likes of Gary Zorko, CIO, Z Gallerie and Ricardo Belmar, senior director, product marketing, Infovista during an on-demand webcast. Check out this complimentary industry research and knowledge sharing session here.

To discuss retail industry trends, please contact EnsembleIQ’s managing VP research & strategy, Sahir Anand at [email protected].

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