Digitisation is now everywhere and is spreading like wildfire.
I am therefore writing a series of articles on the subject of digitalisation. My motivation is that digitalization means something different for every industry and type of company and I want to work out these differences. For an illustration of the differences in different industries, see the following figure.

In this section, I would like to discuss the very essence of this article and illustrate the digitalization in the retail industry.

Characteristics of the industry

Typical retailers such as hairdressers, florists, bakers and co have always seen themselves as a classic service provider. While there has been a long time coming for customers and visiting the local retailer to support them, the retail industry is now at a critical juncture. Small retailers in particular have long seen no need for digitization or the use of big data, neglecting the opportunities for their business. In the absence of technical understanding and the costs resulting from a change, they were long before agile methods and technological progress. The Internet, with its wide range of online shops and a much wider range of products, as well as the possibility of direct comparison, is increasingly forcing retailers to their knees.

The current digitalization in the retail industry

For many retailers in the retail industry, digitalization still means owning only one website in the form of their own homepage. In order to counteract the competition of the Internet, however, more and more retailers are already relying on improved customer service based on online-based functions. For example, hairdressers already offer appointments via online form or ask customers to submit an online review via email or SMS after the appointment. But also in the field of marketing, people are increasingly advertising on the web and using the reach of social media.
In addition, increasingly agile methods are being used to increase the flexibility of processes in order to achieve an optimal customer experience. With sprint destinations such as Scrum, the shopping experience is promoted for the customer. Some retailers have already recognized the need for agile and scalable IT.

But digitalization is now also playing a crucial role for retailers in the area of data analysis. Here, too, big data can increase efficiency with the help of intelligent software. In this way, the collected customer data can be used to determine which offers are preferred by customers or which prices are accepted for services.

Benefits of digitalization in the retail industry

The retail focus is clearly on the customer. The introduction of digitalisation, agility and technological innovations is intended to strengthen the relationship with this in the future. Digitalization offers various channels to retain existing customers and attract new customers. Using digital CRM systems, customer data can also be systematically evaluated and used as a basis for individualised offers. But the use and distribution of internal data and information is also improved by technological tools. For example, flexible cloud solutions can make data usable and retrievable anytime, anywhere.

Overall, digitalization not only supports retailers in the development of competitive advantages due to offers that are tailored directly to the customer, but also provides a foundation for new business models, such as online sales.


If you are as enthusiastic about this topic as I am, then you can find the entire series of articles here!

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I blog about the impact of digitalization on our working environment. For this purpose, I present content from science in a practical way and show helpful tips from my everyday work. I am a manager in an SME myself and I wrote my doctoral thesis at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg at the chair of IT Management.

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