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Retail digital transformation – Improving stores through tech

by Casey Schmidt  |  December 12, 2019

3 min. read
A sign that says 'Change'.

Retail digital transformations are revamping how customers experience retail stores. Companies benefit from these changes drastically so make sure you have a good understanding of them. Here’s a breakdown of the important information behind these transformations.

What is a digital transformation?

A digital transformation is a complete change of current company procedures into new digital technologies. It’s a business change from traditional physical formats into digital ones. Digital transformation brings new digital tech into all parts of a company, especially when it comes to communicating with customers.

A woman swipes her credit card at a store.
Digital transformations are crucial to retail stores.


There are some specific ways that digital transformation creates great value for retail companies. Though it is subjective based on the type of company, here are some benefits that most can get behind:

Customer convenience

There are different ways that digital transformation boosts customer convenience. The most noticeable are through the accessible support and omnichannel experience. Digital transformations typically include superior access to help through digital assistance. Whereas retail stores used to only be able to assist customers during physical store location hours, now they have automated responses setup online. This creates a chance for customers to connect with a company 24/7.

An omnichannel experience creates a seamless process where customers transition from a company’s different entry points with ease, as they’re all connected. For example, say the customer begins their journey inside a physical store finding an item they might purchase. They then look up the item at home on their computer and add it to their digital cart on the company website. From there, they use their smartphone to complete the transaction. A digital transformation allows for this connectivity between different access points, which makes the customer’s experience easy.

A lighted cafe with a lot of customers.
Customers are the center of all transformations.

Data trend discovery

Part of the digital progression is the new and improved way retail companies can watch for customer trends. This is done through data and machines that help companies learn what the customers want. This is the case with things such as product or service recommendations, promotion changes toward specific customers and the ability to identify customer needs. The better the analysis, the stronger the personalized changes for the customer. And of course the more powerful the personalization, the happier the customer will be. This all points to stronger customer experience and relationship with the company.

How physical locations fit in

Don’t confuse digital transformations as a removal of the physical location or even a diminishing role of the physical location. The point of a retail digital transformation isn’t to move away from a physical locale – it’s to strengthen it. It does so by tying everything together.

So instead, we should focus our digital efforts on building the best possible experience involving the store. Digital promotions that set the customer up for success once they arrive to the store are part of this process. If a customer has access to information about products or services, half their work is done for them. Now their in-store tasks are simpler.

A woman counts items in a store.
Physical locations will always be part of retail.

What the future has in store for retail

The future of retail is leaning more and more towards digital innovation. Certainly the plan has been to compete with online sales companies by changing the way they handle their own digital tech. This should continue to progress and grow even stronger as companies look to stay relevant in the competitive field of sales.

It’s also likely that data, whether this practice is good or bad, will continue to be collected by retail companies on their customers. It’s also likely that this collection will increase as time goes by, creating amazing customer experiences through personalized promotions and sales. This is becoming a reality, whether customers accept it as a positive is yet to be seen.

Digital transformations are raising the bar for retail establishments and creating powerful competition. If you’re in the middle of your own transformation, make sure you understand what types of things will change and how to react to these changes.