By Gary Ambrosino, CEO of TimeTrade Systems
Too often in retail, disruptions are viewed as bad things, but new digital disruptions, including 3-D printing and digital currencies, are transforming what consumers expect from their shopping experience and how they interact with physical and online retailers — for the better.
So what’s driving this transformation? The short answer: consumer demand. Today’s consumers aren’t ignorant to the fact that the exponential growth of technology is profoundly influencing every facet of their lives, and they want that trend to continue. The businesses behind the digital disruptions see the opportunity to capitalize on the demands of consumers for more options.
Many retailers, specifically brick-and-mortars, have hesitated to jump in and take advantage of these disruptions — labeling them as things that are hindering their business and driving customers to online or alternative retailers. The reality is that these new digital options are enriching the retail scene and providing an outstanding opportunity for failing retailers to get back in the game.
The introduction of new, disruptive technologies redefines core systems of retail, including payments and supply chain, and repositions everyone on equal footing.
Retailers need to stop shying away from digital options and learn to embrace them. Here are three ways today’s retailers can capitalize on digital disruptions:
1. First things first: There is a seemingly endless list of new digital options for retailers. In 2014 alone, we’ve seen significant growth in 3D printing, digital currencies and curated shopping with online retailers. Before jumping in with both feet, retailers need to survey the scene and make an educated decision on what digital options they should choose to implement. Survey what new digital options are most suited to that particular retail business and make the leap.
2. Be unique: In a recent CNBC article, Steve Barr of research group PwC stated that the most successful retailers don’t cut prices—rather, they offer unique products and shopping experiences. Retailers shouldn’t be afraid to explore digital options that aren’t found in traditional retail settings. By incorporating unique technologies, retailers have the opportunity to reach new demographics with an unparalleled experience and rare or one-of-a-kind products.
3. Get out ahead: Technology isn’t going to stop improving, and customers will likely never stop wanting to experience the next big thing. It’s critical for retailers to stay on top of industry changes and make investments in new digital options as they emerge. Becoming an early adopter or even pioneering original, creative solutions are ways to gain significant recognition in the industry and win new customers.
The digitization of retail is the new normal — consumers will continue to demand and expect the availability of digital options. Retailers that want to stay relevant can’t afford to sit on the sidelines any longer.
Gary Ambrosino is CEO of TimeTrade Systems, whose responsive customer engagement platform allows consumers to connect with a brand, anywhere, anytime — and then gives companies deeper insight than ever before about what consumers want next. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.