Retailers miss out on in-store digital sales

Recent evidence suggests that the uptake of digital in store may seem slower than expected. This leads us to ask the question as whether this is because retailers themselves are slow to grasp the demands of the so-called digital shopper or whether the demand simply isn’t there.

However the plentiful research on this topic speaks volumes. A comprehensive look into the “digital shopper” by consultancies, research centres and independent thinkers (such as CapGemini, Deloitte and Google) shows that consumer behaviour has changed and is set to change further, especially as digital natives – those who have grown up using new technologies and social networks – become the next wave of consumers. The research and data clearly tell us that the internet has influenced how we decide and how we buy enormously, across all age groups.


The chart above, taken from ‘The New Digital Divide’ by Deloitte, shows that digital technologies are set to influence 50 percent of in-store sales by the end of 2014.

Given this acceleration, and looking at it from the other side of the coin, we can therefore assume that it is the retailers who are slow to respond to this huge opportunity.

So now is the time to make sure that digital influence is flowing in the direction that retailers want it to versus their competitors i.e. to them! Frankly, any company who is not taking advantage of that type of influence is missing out and those that do (ahead of everyone else) is set to make huge gains.

The thing that holds back most is probably to do with vagueness. The word “omni-channel” itself seems nebulous and confusing. And the data around “what shoppers want” is similarly vague – sometimes (and quoting the late, great, Steve Jobs) “people don’t know what they want until you show it to them”. So what’s the answer?

  1. Start with your customer and truly put them at the heart of your business – no small feat but essential in coming up with useful ways to get your customers to shop with you more
  2. Create a strategy that can evolve over time and builds in innovation – set up feedback loops with your data so that you’re constantly learning and making sure you remain relevant
  3. Let many digital flowers bloom – try not to restrict your organisation in its innovation by empowering your workforce to come up with new ideas
  4. Attract and hire top digital talent by having a clear vision that is customer-centric by design
  5. Be people, not technology led
  6. Understand trends and influences outside of your market to add new creativity to the mix
  7. Think about context – what your audience find useful versus what they find irritating may be a very fine line depending on where they are and their frame of mind at the time. This is especially important when it comes to mobile communications and applications

Success in the long run is down to leadership and organisational alignment. Are you ready to take digital transformation by the horns?