What is digital transformation

Digitalization takes on a very specific sense when it comes to retail. It can be defined as a process of implementing modern technology to ensure success. This reflects the need to adjust the working prinсiples of retail in order to accommodate the constant change in the way customers buy. This transformation includes how stores use digital technology to revolutionize the experience in-store, as well as reshaping everything from finding a local physical shop to paying for goods without staying in long queues.

In fact, digital transformation determines how retailers interact with their consumers. It covers how businesses engage with their customers, serving them and selling to them while taking into account their views and experiences in order to reshape both the organization and marketing.

A retail business’s front-end part focuses extensively on customer acquisition, retention, SEO, site interaction driving, cross-channel communication. While the back-end works on the efficient running and development of the eCommerce site, the ERP, CRM, web, software, and POS, not to mention working with emerging Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence tools to help optimize the front-end marketing behavior.

You can find more information about how chatbots, AI and ML are implemented in eCommerce and see the real examples in our article.

Why digital transformation matters

Digital transformation is obviously crucial to retailers ‘ success as it guarantees that they remain competitive in an ever-changing industry.
Recent researches show that retailers are very concerned about digital transformation, with 66% of respondents ranking it as “crucial.” The study also showed that retailers are making progress on their digital transformation plans, with “well on their way” to digital transformation reaching almost half of respondents.

The main purpose of digital transformation is to boost customer service and provide a competitive advantage in attracting and retaining consumers. The research found that customers are driving the need for digital transformation, with 51% of respondents reporting that their primary driver for transition is the customer. This central position ensures that the process must be client-centered across both the front-end and back-end roles in order to meet the demands of increasingly complex and challenging users.

Top three trends in digital transformation in the retail and consumer industry


RFID tags and RFID scanners are technology that enables smart shelves. Radio Frequency Identification tags are attached to goods and products and their electromagnetic field and hidden information can be read by a special sensor. If there are no goods left, a shelf fitted with such a device will track the number of products and goods. The smart shelf system also monitors and warns if the items have been lost and need to be returned to their positions. If the items you sell in your shop require special storage conditions (e.g. those spoiling fast outside the fridge), such a device can be critical. As well as all that, such an advanced shelf system works perfectly against shoplifters as easily as possible.

Smart shelves also monitor the most popular items and fastest-sold ones. These details help retailers prepare for the purchase of products to meet the needs of consumers. And a warning about an expiration date is one more vital benefit of such a device. A shelf will remind you of the items that have not yet been sold but will soon expire.


Bluetooth Low Energy apps, such as beacons or other IoT sensors, can connect mobile phones of consumers (when the Bluetooth mode is on) and deliver alerts of products, facilities, deals or special offers from a store when a person passes through that location. Beacons can work with smartphones as well as smartwatches. Ask a customer if they agree to receive notifications from your store and use various loyalty programs and rewards to invite visitors to your place. In this way, beacons retailers encourage consumers to visit their locations and increase sales.


As an option, you can create an app like IKEA. Their first mobile app didn’t allow customers to buy, just to review the catalogs and see the goods arrangement in a physical store. Such an app can save customer’s time when they are looking for something in a big store. The other way is a fully-functioning mobile app development where users should register and can collect some bonuses.

Key things you need to innovate in retail and consumer industry


The customers of today do pay attention to experience. And if yours is not in line with their wishes, you have a question. Here is an example Just 4 percent of UK customers claim they will choose to engage with a company that provides unsatisfactory services in user experience. And they are constantly evolving their interpretation of what is’ satisfactory.’

Then, what is the best solution to keep up with the pace? Use data and feedback to innovate and develop a seamless consumer-friendly experience. More buyers will be gained, engaged and kept, gaining a competitive edge to unlock top-line performance.


In any business, the enemy of innovation and agility is complexity and fragmentation. For trade and sale, this is more true than anywhere else. It is a market where rapidly growing start-ups inevitably hit a tipping point where their original strength is undermined by size. The approach is to digitize and automate the main business processes at scale and maximize the advances in automation. We understand the importance of technology, but only part of the solution. Success also relies on your employees having the right technical capabilities, so that you can take full advantage of this development by making sure it is embraced.


Earlier, the companies were able to design and manufacture goods at their own speed at one hand. Consumers bought and ate them at the other. But the polarities have now turned back. The most competitive supply chains of today are multidirectional: using closed-loop feedback, where your people and customers work together and innovate together to improve the purchasing experience, at the same time reducing product development cycles to a few days.

Tips for leading the digital transformation

Many companies do not have development teams and do not want to have them, so the key to digital transformation is often held by third parties. Digital innovation relies heavily on improvements in the systems and technology at the front and back end that a business uses and how these changes can be put together. This requires a lot of reconnection of existing systems and the integration of business functions, employees and cultures, and the technology itself most importantly.

Research, data, and findings concerning digital transformation

A big number of researches and studies were conducted as long as the digital transformation is targeting at satisfying customers’ needs. We outlined some factors we recommend you to pay attention to when making your digital strategy.

  • Convenience vs price issues. Both matters a lot, and digital transformation can make them work for each other;
  • Awareness is more than important. 40% of respondents say sales associates with broad product range awareness are valuable to them (and you can include knowledge of other retail-related information such as inventory status).
  • 27% of the research participants claimed to regularly use of click-and-collect services
  • Profound research before buying: 28% of respondents use their smartphones to look for product information and compare prices when out shopping.

Summing it all up, the fast pace of retail industry development is worth investing in it. New technologies are emerging all the time and it is all due to the rising customers’ demands. If you want to stay competitive – keep up with the times. Don’t hesitate to contact Sapient Pro if you feel like you need a piece of professional advice with what your business needs and the helping hand in the implementation of the necessary technologies.

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