Why Retail Businesses Must Embrace Technology
In the midst of this digital revolution at the midpoint of the second decade of the 21st century, channel integration is more important than ever. Retail companies will either take advantage of the new automated software tools to market their products or be left behind to fall into the digital divide. This will require the utilization and integration of several software tools working together to automate marketing, publishing, distribution of media, social media, customer engagement, e-commerce, mobile and analytics. Without an integrated marketing and sales strategy, it's nearly impossible to compete online with companies already deploying automated technology.
As we rapidly move from old media to the new media of the internet, retailers must shift to also take advantage of the digital economy where their customers are now shopping. This digital transformation is the greatest opportunity in the history of trade and commerce. For the first time, the internet creates a digital democracy of marketing and advertising because few retailers can afford consistent advertising, while the internet makes multimedia affordable and creates a revenue center.
However, to exploit online retailing takes knowledge and this is where the great digital divide occurs since technology can be complex, confusing and cost prohibitive. With so many fragmented software tools available, it's difficult to navigate all the technology cost effectively. Third-party software tools that are complex need outside consultants to effectively implement, which add to cost. Enterprise-level software is too expensive for most small and midsized businesses. The solution is to integrate your automation to cost effectively engage with customers online.
The convergence of multimedia publishing strategies, social media and analytics combined with commerce is rarely accomplished with a simple static website and e-commerce functionality. Customer engagement that creates conversations all starts with content marketing and transparency, enabling consumers to find you online through search engines and click into your site. The trust that leads to a transaction relies on the quality of the user experience on your site.