Retail has always been hard —keeping up with changing customer expectations, maintaining loyalty, engaging employees— and it’s only getting harder. Now, retail businesses that embrace digital experimentation, and in the process benefit their customers, improve the chances of their own survival.
Growth in retail is coming largely from e-commerce (Deloitte), and digital retail is dominated by the dual forces of direct to consumer (DTC) disruptors, and global digital dominators, e.g. Walmart and Amazon. This puts pressure on the whole market to accelerate and improve digital experiences.
Global digital dominators’ success is no accident, most have adopted a culture of experimentation. A recent Accenture report noted: “Successful businesses like Amazon are experimenting constantly on their digital experiences. Not only that, they are also experimenting through all veins of their operations – from their brand value propositions to their supply chains.”
Disruptors, like the San Francisco based subscription jewelry store Rocksbox, have also leveraged experimentation to build relationships with prospective customers and educate them about the how-tos of fundamentally new shopping models.
Success in e-commerce is not, however, determined by membership in the digital disruptor or dominator tribe. It’s determined by customer-focused, data-led strategy and a willingness to experiment. HP created an experimentation center of excellence and has run almost 500 campaigns that have together driven an incremental $21 million in revenue from its subscription service HP Instant Ink.
Still, our 2019 survey of purchasing decision makers or influencers at retail brands found that many businesses mistakenly adopt the mantra ‘failure is not an option.’ The irony is that in a digital-first world, fearing failure prevents retailers from trying new things, and that’s actually what leads to business decline.
To learn where retailers are struggling, and how they can deliver exceptional customer experiences in a digital first world, get a copy of our new survey: “Retail is Digital First. Are you?” and win in the digital experience economy.