We live in a society where consumers are increasingly turning to digital solutions in their everyday lives.

This shift has rapidly influenced their expectations, where consumers expect quick resolutions on a technological scale.

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And let’s face it with smartphone culture being at its apex everything should cater to the online/mobile market.

Some companies are slow to revolutionize business operations after growing accustomed to doing things a certain way.

These companies run the risk of losing a competitive edge, especially when less established organizations enter the market and cause disruption.

New companies have no problems incorporating new technology at the heart of business operations, so established companies must enter digital transformation or risk losing relevance entirely.

But what does digital transformation mean? Let’s look at a definition before moving on to how to successfully transcend your company to meet modern requirements.

What Does Digital Transformation Mean? (Part 1)

Digital transformation addresses the changes/progress necessary to incorporate new technologies effectively.

To digitally transform means changing processes, competencies, organizational activities and various other business aspects.

The process introduces a mix of digital technologies to add value to the consumer in a strategic way.

It addresses cultural changes and shifting mindsets, where employees are advocates of change and welcome the prospect of digitization.

Digital transformation has never been more relevant than it is today, and as technology continues to impact organizations more and more the concept doesn’t appear to be going anywhere.

The necessity and relevance of digital transformation directly correlates with the impact of technology in our lives.

And it’s clear this impact is getting greater as time goes by.

Leveraging existing technologies is a great start, but reaching true adoption requires so much more.

New initiatives must be introduced strategically if they’re to generate a positive impact.

Imagine implementing new software and expecting your staff to come to terms with it immediately?

Can you imagine the ensuing shock and disillusion?

This would make staff feel undervalued, like they didn’t have a say in the matter.

Many companies fail to recognize the importance of a digital transformation strategy, making it very difficult for staff to get up-to-speed.

Can you really expect staff to learn new software/tools on the spot?

With a measured, strategic approach which not only considers staff needs but incorporates their valuable input, companies can focus on helping staff adapt.

This is especially true when you’ve created a culture which accepts/embraces the importance of change to create a streamlined work environment.

This is all part and parcel when it comes to approaching digital transformation the right way.

What Does Digital Transformation Mean? (Part 2)

Developing new competencies to become agile, customer-centric, innovative and streamlined.

Leveraging new opportunities to alter the status quo and take advantage of the wealth of new information at our disposal.

You might be required to deploy your digital transformation strategy at a faster rate. This is dependent on your current circumstances, relative to how fast competitors are digitally evolving.

This decision is driven by other things like customer behavior, societal shifts, emerging technologies and so on.

Digital transformation means solving challenges along the way. By overcoming these challenges you’ll be positioned to take larger leaps towards success.

You’ll uncover multiple interconnected goals which when achieved will collectively lead to adoption.

Continuous optimization across all processes will be at the heart of your business, and this will arguably be your biggest key to success.

Always value the human element, taking a staged approach to creating the capabilities, possibilities and opportunities necessary to enable new technologies to have a profound impact.

What Does DIgital Transformation Mean? (Part 3): 5 Top Tips

In the third and final part of this explanation let’s assess five practical tips for a successful digital transformation:

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Loyalty programs are a great way to establish repeat customers, however they very rarely provide retailers with additional insight.

It is this level of insight about customers which can drive better business decision-making.

But since conventional approaches provide limited information about customers, how exactly should you go about extracting the additional information you need?

In an ideal world companies are positioned to learn about the motivational factors which influence consumer purchasing.

Well, this ideal world has become a reality with the emerging presence of AI and deep learning.

These help to individualize customer interactions to make one-to-one marketing a real possibility.

By understanding a customer’s true intentions you can incorporate technologies which meet their expectations, transforming in ways which bring value to the customer.

Leveraging deep learning and AI will allow you to learn so much about your clientele, where you can obtain valuable information which will ultimately dictate the direction of multiple practices in a customer-orientated business setting.

Mobile-First Strategy

As smartphone culture runs riot through society you’d be silly not to adopt a mobile-first strategy.

With more than 224 million smartphone users in the US, the omnipresence of technology offers multiple opportunities for businesses to capitalize on mobile markets.

The issue is many companies fail to incorporate up-to-date POS technology, something which is hard to believe when you consider its power and overall reach.

Engaging consumers where they spend most of their time is a surefire recipe for success.

Elements like mobile payment, personalized messaging and self-checkout should play a critical role in your digital transformation strategy.

Mobile devices are at the heart of the IoT, where elevated convenience motivates users to engage with their smartphones even more.

When launching mobile initiatives remember not to alienate sections of your audience!

Introduce mobile apps which are compatible with all models, not just some.

Avoid restrictive platforms to generate the greatest most beneficial reach possible.

Two-Way Customer Communication

Regardless of whether you’re a brick-and-mortar score or predominantly operate online, the power of online reviews should never be understated.

In fact most consumers will turn to third-party review sites as a barometer of whether to trust you.

Most first impressions are formed through a quick online search. Being aware of this is encouragement to not undervalue the importance of review sites.

Giving review sites the due care and attention they deserve is a critical component of digital transformation.

But receiving a bad review doesn’t have to be as overwhelmingly negative as some would perceive it to be.

In fact, what’s more important is the way you respond to reviews.

Creating two-way customer communication proves you value consumer opinion and are willing to take their points on board.

This aids with continuous improvement as you show a willingness to empathize with customer concerns and offer a solution.

Thank customers for taking the time to review and reassure them steps will be taken to meet an effective resolution. Going one step further you should look at how you can make improvements based on the feedback you’re getting.

Always be flexibly adjustable and most importantly listen to your clientele. 

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