What Makes Retailers Great in a Digital Age

The UK’s best and worst shops were revealed by Which? recently and it is¬†interesting to go through the findings and see what makes retailers great in a digital age.

A trend in retail currently is businesses becoming more digitally enabled. But¬†digital is complicated. A line I came up with¬†in¬†a digital strategy presentation for a major international brand back in 2012 was: Digital is not quick, it’s not easy and it’s not cheap.

Digital Landscape

The digital landscape is complicated and scary.

One of the biggest¬†problems¬†that prevent clients I’ve worked with from becoming digitally engaged businesses is that they look at¬†digital as a new¬†channel. It kind of is a newish channel, but this is a road block¬†because people tend to be scared of trying new things.

What’s great about the¬†report from Which? is that by¬†getting a snapshot of who is winning on the high-street (and why) means you can apply the same¬†thinking to digital. In this way, digital doesn’t need to be¬†something new, technical¬†or scary. It’s just what has been happening all along.

If you look at is from the customers perspective, for the customer there is no channel Р just the experience.

With that in mind, these were the top 5 retailers on the high street in the UK (and why):

  1. Lush РCustomers love the products and staff service.
  2. The Disney Store РThe fairytale follows through to the store, service and products.
  3. Richer Sounds – Pricing (value), quality and service.
  4. John Lewis РExcellent service and store environment in a wide range of categories.
  5. Waterstones РNice store experience, staff service.

Looking at the list brands, they all sell different things, in fact some products are very unique in their own category, but ultimately they were all different from each other. The commonality is service.

So by being aware that each brand and experience is very different to one another the rating here is the experience of customer. And as mentioned earlier an experience is agnostic of channel.

By focusing on the customer experience and not on tactics, digital or otherwise, you can avoid a lot of problems becoming a more digitally savvy business.

However, there is the technical issue retailers face, which is¬†getting¬†what’s happening on the high street to¬†happen¬†online, in the same way. It sounds really¬†simple, but it’s not. To create a slick experience that is the same, regardless¬†of channel, is technically very difficult. But at the end of the day customers don’t see the channel divide.

Final thoughts on what makes retailers great in a digital age:

Customer satisfaction is not a result of cross channel synchronisation, but the experience they have. Thinking about the problem in a slightly different way can help a business make the transition to being a more digitally engaged one.

This leads to asking the question, “what if you customer didn’t have to come to store to get a great experience”? Or one step broader, “what if you could give customers a great experience that have never visited a store or don’t live anywhere near your stores”?

Think about the customer experience, not about digital, and answering questions about digital becomes a lot easier.


About Nicholas

I love helping people and solving problems. I am currently working on:
A Cape Town Fibre ISP ‚Äď Atomic Access
A South African 2-for-1 Dining Deal Platform ‚Äď Going Out
Borderless Blockchain Mobile Network Operator ‚Äď World Mobile
From England and currently living in Cape Town, South Africa. Say hi!
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