What is Digital Transformation in Retail?

digital transformation
Digital transformation is a radical rethinking of how an organization uses technology.

The term ‘digital transformation’ in retail encompasses a range of business opportunities that go beyond simply focusing on a single technology or a discreet strategy, such as e-commerce or click-and-collect. A digital transformation strategy in retail refers to the trend of retailers creating new and innovative business models that blur the physical and digital worlds.

Digital Transformation Redefines Retailing

Digital businesses redefine traditional retailing and marketplace boundaries. They drive internal change toward new, unprecedented business environments and are led by customer-first strategies characterized by newfound flexibility.

A leading-edge digital retailer will connect or integrate assets (businesses, divisions, staff and technologies) to remove barriers that inhibit the blurring of the physical and digital worlds.

Collaboration at multiple levels – staff, processes and technologies – is a necessary step for digital transformation to occur. Successful retailers will build ecosystems that include other retailers, suppliers, shippers, customers, and technology vendors.

What Defines a Digital Transformation?

Digital transformation in retail is a radical rethinking of how a retailer uses technology to pursue new and improved revenue streams and new business models. 

There are significant obstacles faced by retailers that embark on a digital transformation journey. Many of these are technological issues, such as retiring legacy applications, integrating applications using APIs, and consolidating databases.

However, the real challenge is found in corporate culture and change management issues, which often makes it difficult to convert digital transformation efforts into business opportunities that produce measurable results.

Cultural issues are pervasive and elusive, but they must be addressed by retail organizations that want their digital transformation initiatives to succeed in the age of the consumer.

See these resources for more on digital transformation.

Exploring the Foundation for Digital Transformation

Stores Are Ground Zero in Digital Transformation

How to Make Digital Transformation Work in the Store

Is There a Recipe for a Perfect Digital Transformation?

Stores Are Proving Grounds for Innovation and Digital Transformation

Digital Transformation Dooms Slow-Moving, Budget-Strapped Retailers

5 Tips For a Successful Digital Transformation

2018 RIS/Gartner Retail Technology Study: Wake Up Call for Digital Transformation