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There is hardly any industry that is not affected by increasing digitization, just as there is hardly any sector that can afford to neglect the buying experience. 

Both the B2B and B2C sectors attempt to fulfill the customer’s every wish before they even know that they had one, by increasingly focusing on data and improving the efficiency of processes. 

The rise of digitization

In the retail and gastronomy sectors, the already narrow margins are commonly under pressure. Significant investments in the digitization of the shopping experience makes this even worse.

Nevertheless, and quite rightly so, the interest of retailers and restaurant owners in digital innovations remains unbridled. The focus is on both backend innovations and online sales solutions at the point of sale and self-checkout systems. The digitization of the economy creates greater depth and volume for customer relationships to an extent never seen before. Comprehensive data collection during business transactions through big data, the linking of internal processes, systematic analyses, lightning-fast response times, and personalized contact with several customers at the same time open up a multitude of opportunities for the digital implementation of an efficient customer focus. 

The search for digital technology that is suitable for businesses’own areas of operation indicates a clear differentiation between the respective sectors: 

The furniture industry, for instance, is focusing more on technology such as augmented and virtual reality, whereas others, such as the food sector, are focusing more on electronic invoicing or CMR systems. 

Meanwhile, luxury boutiques prefer the multi-sensory experience in the boutiques, with the clothing sector increasingly experimenting with intelligent mirrors. 

Anticipating customer requirements

All digitization measures aim to improve the shopping experience. Retailers adapt to the changing requirements of their customers. But today, that’s no longer enough. Every business must identify the correct clients and also recognize their requirements as customers want to be wooed and won.

Failure to recognize customer requirements at an early stage results in loss of sales. Customers are also increasingly comparing their shopping experience on an international level. Especially in border regions, customers can quickly take their shopping to another country. The ability to meet customer requirements is therefore undoubtedly a crucial competitive advantage.

Although data and technology can help with recognizing and meeting customer requirements, they are not a cure-all. Customer focus means, quite specifically, to take a look at how to help customers in daily operations instead of searching for reasons why their requirements can’t be met.

Digitization be it as it may, today the guiding principle “the customer is king” applies more than ever!

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