What Digital Transformation Actually Means For Retail

by MR Magazine Staff

Digital transformation. At its highest level, it means using digital technologies to create game-changing business innovations that disrupt existing industries or create whole new ones. That’s a pretty simple definition, but it quickly gets very difficult to drive that down to specifics. People point to Spotify or Uber, where technology upended a market. With Spotify (digital streaming), physical media for delivering music became irrelevant. With Uber, technology can connect people who need rides with people who have cars with some ride capacity. In both cases, it changed the economics of the impacted industry in radical ways. Retail still has one thing about it that simply cannot change: retail, in the end, involves transferring possession of physical goods to a consumer. You can’t (yet) digitize a sweater. I certainly haven’t found anyone who can beam some cupcakes to my kitchen counter when my daughter tells me at 7 am that she needs them for school that day. This one little thing – the transfer of real, physical goods to a consumer – is both the biggest difference retail faces when taking on digital transformation, and also the biggest inhibitor that locks retailers into thinking that digital transformation isn’t going to impact them like other industries. Read more at Forbes.