Retailers (Service providers) fear what had happened to Blockbuster and Toys R’ Us may happen to them as well. We all have seen the headlines and the stats in the last couple of years about decreasing mall and physical store traffic and online stores significantly losing out to Amazon and Walmart.
Amazon and Walmart are using massive digital infrastructure to dominate the market on both the retailer and the service provider spaces, even threatening grocery and small service providers.
If you can’t sell and compete on Amazon using low price point and depend on volume, then you must find other ways to survive and grow.
Below are some pragmatic tips learned from the field through practical experience enabling retailers and service providers to survive and grow in this furious and ultra competitive digital economy.
Build a competitive digital advantage
You need to build a competitive digital advantage. Here are the 4 things you MUST do:
- Foster and grow the digital relationship with your customers or potential customers
- Communicate using preferred customers’ channels
- Create mobile presence and present your business value and differentiator using those mobile channels
- Create mobile apps or use responsive web channels and create the much needed API Management and mobile program to support those mobile channels
Use social collaboration
Use digital collaboration networks to build a digital community and utilizing an incentive based referral program or loyalty program, which will provide a constant digital connection with your customers. This will not only help build your online and digital brand, but it will also grow your customer’s base and help you easily win new customers.
Adopt a subscription model if possible
If your business model allows it, build a subscription model instead of one time sale model an include an incentive based digital program to encourage subscription over one time sales. For example, you could implement a monthly subscription or online club that will allows customer to get a discount. This would incentivize customers even if buyers don’t need to buy every month. This is similar to Amazon Prime.
Adopt a faster time to market digital strategy
Your backend digital systems need to adapt to agile development and be able to add business functions quickly and support multiple digital channels using the same backend code.
You can’t afford to build a code base for mobile and another for web or something similar.
To be agile, you need to adopt a Reactive Microservices development style and encourage agile development.
Know your customer
Use analytics to learn more about your customer base, to drive more revenue and cust the cost.
API analytics can provide valuable info on the perfect customer profile, weak and strength points and therefore you can focus your efforts on a more efficient targeted marketing and update your services and products to cut cost and generate more revenue.
Connect the customer to a product expert, provide rich product experience through personal touch, bring the conversation into the app, where the consumer will visit over and over again and develop emotional bond
To able to survive and grow as a retailer or service provider you need to add more digital capabilities to your arsenal such as mobile and API management, collaboration networks, incentive programs, and use innovative technologies such as PAI Management and Reactive Technologies.
However, what if you don’t have in-house capabilities or you don’t have the time to create and build all this in-house?
You can outsource all those requirements to a trusted digital transformation partner who can deliver on time and provide a mentoring approach to help you grow and develop those much needed in-house digital competitive capabilities.