Digital transformation is everywhere. There is a huge shift in digital towards businesses that understand collaboration, connection and advocacy.
Brands need to look at their future in the new connected world, to keep pace with digital disruptors and meet consumer needs. There are a number of steps that brands can take.
CREATE POSITIVE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCES
Sharing economy brands such as Airbnb and Uber are reliant on their users enjoying positive experiences, in order to build trust within their communities. They achieve this by creating transparency and dual accountability throughout their offers.
With Uber, both drivers and passengers can rate their own experiences while Airbnb fosters a sense of positive belonging within the community through its rich story-telling content.
BE BOLD: THERE IS NO TRY
Create customer-first digital innovation. Start with the customer need and work back to find the technological solution. In a world where agile￼technology providers are out-manoeuvring larger brands who are slower to adapt, there is increased competition for solutions that can react fast to improve the customer experience.
Take the financial sector as an example. In three to five years’ time, card payments will be antiquated and the emergence of payment services built purely for the digital world will compete directly with traditional banking brands. Financial brands need to stay relevant and use technology to put the customer at the heart of their products and services, such as Barclays trialling its bPay wristband.
DEFINE THE CHALLENGE
In the travel industry, one of the challenges is the evolution of mobile-first strategies. Over half of TripAdvisor traffic last year was through mobile devices and mobile will be critical to travel providers moving forward.
Another challenge is making the experience more personal through the use of data. Our own study into the connected traveller showed more than 40% would be likely to use digital technology to research and book a holiday, and many travel providers only scratch the surface of what is currently possible with big data and personalisation.
PROTOTYPE AND TEST
Fail quickly and learn. The challenge is to ensure a consistent experience across multiples touchpoints, making sure the customer journey between the digital and real worlds is as seamless as possible. The only way to do this is to trial, measure, adapt and iterate the process. Repeat, and keep repeating.
Predicted patterns in consumer behaviour aren’t always reliable, so brands have to get better at listening to their customers and resist attempts to force through unwanted digital change. Argos is a good recent example of a digitally-transformed success story, where demand for physical catalogues has actually somewhat slowed their replacement in-store with iPads.
The challenge is to ensure a consistent experience across multiples touchpoints, making sure the customer journey between the digital and real worlds is as seamless as possible. The only way to do this is to trial, measure, adapt and iterate the process. Repeat, and keep repeating.
LAUNCH AND MAINTAIN
Be clear on your business objectives and how maintaining innovation can match these. John Lewis has reaped the rewards of Click&Collect, and has now also pinpointed various stages of the customer journey in-store that needed digital innovation for improvement. As a result, the retailer is piloting a number of innovations.
These include 3D-printed sofa models which, when combined with RFID tags, show what the sofa will actually look like in different colours and designs on a computer screen, and iBeacons in-store to track customer behaviour and trigger pre-ordered products to be readied for collection — thus reducing waiting times at the Click&Collect counter. In the retail world, maintaining the innovation process to bridge gaps between online and offline shopping behaviour will secure the future of bricks and mortar brands.