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Improve your eCommerce ROI by Avoiding These 5 Common Digital Transformation Missteps

The grocery eCommerce marketplace overflows with disruption at every turn.

The pace at which grocery eCommerce companies like Amazon, Walmart and Kroger have been increasing their range of digital offerings is not slowing. As FMI’s 2018 Grocery Shopper Trends Report shows, consumers’ grocery shopping habits continue to shift towards online purchasing. There’s little doubt that we’re going to see more grocery retailers of all sizes and types continuing to prioritize technological innovation as a means to maintain control over their share of consumers’ grocery habits and budgets.

Digital innovations can help to differentiate your grocery retail business. But as more traditional grocery store chains layer in new online capabilities, features and services to drive engagement, have grocery business leaders considered the company wide implications of this change? Too many companies enter into digital transformation activities without the necessary planning, vision, processes or people in place to see it through to success.

Whether you’re diving in headfirst or just dipping a toe into the tech stream, be sure to plan well ahead, activating the following recommendations to avoid these 5 all-too-common digital transformation missteps:

  1. Not putting your customers first – When fighting disruption, it can be easy to buy into “quick-win” sales tactics that drive higher margins in the moment. But to get ahead in the grocery eCommerce sector over the long haul, you’ve got to be customer obsessed. This means taking a customer-first approach, and demonstrating a deeper level of brand–customer engagement that prioritizes their unique wants and needs. Recommendation: Mine your customer data and make better CX delivery the ultimate end goal of any transformation you’re looking to achieve in your business.

  2. Poor communication Clear and consistent communication is one of the most important cornerstones in retail success, especially in times of change. When done well, you have the chance to control the message and can lessen the impact of the change on people’s lives. Recommendation: From tech-driven promotions (think: online ads, eNewsletters and social media posts) to more traditional retail mainstays like POS and flyers, make good use of all of your communications channels to inform and excite shoppers with details of how your business is evolving in the future.

  3. Inconsistent cross-channel experience Shoppers will use whatever channel best suits their needs for convenience, choice and value. Few things bother tech-savvy omnishoppers more than when information on one platform differs in any considerable way from other channels, including their in-store retail experience. Recommendation: Leverage your digital transformation initiatives to synchronize your physical and digital customer experience models. Use consistent imagery, language and tone across all of your promotions and sales channels, but be sure to keep the images and layout flexible (think: responsive design that adapts to users’ devices). This way, you’ll go beyond selling products here and there, to building a multi-faceted customer relationship that develops across the entire shopping journey.

  4. Lack of training and support The level of tech-savviness of your employees far outweighs that of even five years ago and continues to increase and improve as digital devices are incorporated into all areas of daily life. Yet, just because employees might know the ins and outs of their smartphones doesn’t mean they necessarily know how best to use those digital devices in a work setting. Recommendation: Empower your employees to become your most effective brand evangelists, supplying them with up-to-date tools, training and support to drive home the value of your digital transformation initiatives with customers and colleagues alike.

  5. Getting ahead of yourself In an ever-evolving retail market, what’s popular and exciting for trend-conscious consumers this week may be completely different next month. Recommendation: Rather than an all-or-nothing approach, you’ll achieve better return on your tech investment if you enter the digital transformation process with a sense of pragmatism and a willingness to slowly and steadily invest in proven solutions that facilitate better omnichannel shopping experiences (e.g., data-collection and -mining software or tools that allow you to integrate greater personalization into your eCommerce platform).

Digital transformation isn’t necessarily rocket science, but it does require commitment and ownership to see it through to success.

Successful organizational transformation—and especially those that involve integration of new digital tools and solutions—requires a vital combination of vision, cooperation, communication, education and support if they’re going to be successful. And to be sustainable, they’ve got to be backed by partners, like Mercatus, with the expertise to help your organization adapt to changing market conditions. We’ve been empowering grocers to deliver exceptional customer experiences online and in-store for 14 years, by enabling an integrated, end-to-end grocery eCommerce platform.

As you approach your digital transformation initiatives, keep these recommendations in mind for a smoother and more sustainable organization over time.

Chart a course to a digitally integrated future: check out our Grocer’s Survival Guide to Digital Retail” for tips on how to transform your organization. Free to download here!

Justyna McCaig
Justyna is the Senior Industry Engagement Manager at Mercatus. She has been designing marketing strategies that aim to inform and delight customers across various industries for almost 15 years. Her customer-first approach has informed her execution style and resulted in creating programs that are educational, efficient and often buck the trend.

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