Unlocking Retail Success Through Digital Transformation

For retailers, the right digital solution does not have to be disruptive. It should grow with the organization – and focus on output, accuracy, and efficiency.

For the past several decades, traditional retailers have had to deal with threats to their existence – both conventional and digital. The “ordinary” threats – branding, inventory, and supply chain woes – are not new, but they’ve gained new urgency since the pandemic. Digital threats range from e-commerce in the 1990s to mobile-everything in the late 2000s to virtual experiences and artificial intelligence (AI) today. Brick-and-mortar retailers are often viewed as dinosaurs as pundits obsess over “The Next Big Thing” in technology. But marketing and advertising directors know the secret to success – the wise use of data.

Retail marketers know the challenges that shoppers’ digital, multichannel habits represent. They understand the need to remain agile in meeting customer needs and finding new ways to succeed in today’s changing markets. Having the correct data is the key. However, they may need to learn how to develop and scale their company’s most effective response without breaking the budget.

It Doesn’t Mean Starting Over

Thankfully, most major retail chains already have many of the essential ingredients for this level of success. Mobile and AI may be relatively new, but workflow, data, and infrastructure are not. Decades of experience handling and utilizing complex data is the retail marketer’s trump card – so long as they know how to deploy and scale it in the ever-changing multichannel world.

Let’s count all the ways retailers have mastered the digital realm. Most marketing divisions have a well-established digital workflow for creating complex printed marketing materials using Adobe InDesign. Most also have sophisticated databases for managing product information (usually a PIM system), product photos, and other digital assets (a DAM system). They may have other databases for tracking pricing, inventory, sales history, and customer feedback. Many retailers have also developed mobile apps to help customers find and order products – both inside the store and elsewhere.

Comosoft: 4 Ways To Improve Retail Customer Experience

So, if the retailer’s marketing workflow and data infrastructure are well established, can they scale to meet the needs of a growing company with ever more digital channels to fill? Can they do so without completely disrupting their normal campaign marketing operations? The answer to both questions is yes. Their existing workflows can grow with the organization – IF their systems let them focus on output, accuracy, and efficiency.

Connecting the Pieces

Tackling multichannel marketing goes hand in hand with many large retailers’ attempts to customize their message by region, demographic groupings, and individual buying behavior. It must begin with region-specific versions of printed flyers and inserts, but it also must translate well to the retailer’s websites and mobile apps. Unlike large, e-commerce-only sellers, major retailers must optimize the in-store experience – with promotions tailored to individual purchase habits and behaviors.

The good news is that the essential elements already exist. All that is needed is a system connecting existing planning and production workflows with data sources. Comosoft LAGO does not replace existing planning and production workflows nor force retailers to completely revamp their existing PIM, DAM, and other data resources. Instead, it connects them in a single, scalable, and customizable whole – one that utilizes the existing skillsets of the marketing and advertising production teams.

Output Volume, Accuracy, and Efficiency

The LAGO workflow begins at the campaign planning stage, where marketing and advertising directors and product marketing managers can visualize each campaign and its respective special offers and promotions. They can do so quickly and accurately because the LAGO system is connected to the retailer’s PIM, DAM, and other data sources. Thanks to LAGO’s live data connections, a specific product may be prioritized based on its sales history, margin, inventory, and other key factors.

Once the products are placed on a planning whiteboard, together with all related information and images, the product “blocks” are automatically transferred to the corresponding page in the Adobe InDesign-based layout workflow, where they can be subsequently (and quickly) customized into regional or demographic variants. Campaign data are not limited to catalogs or flyers, however. Campaign data from LAGO may be exported to websites and mobile applications, as was done to great effect in the Lowe’s mobile app.

Screenshot von LAGO Whiteboard auf einem Monitor

To top it all, the system can even use artificial intelligence (AI) to guide marketing and advertising directors in the creation of multiple campaigns in LAGO. By finding patterns in past customer purchase data, they are better able to optimize promotions based on seasonality and related product purchasing behavior, significantly increasing sales in individual stores.

The advantage of all these capabilities is that retail marketers are not required to abandon well-established workflows or data strategies. With LAGO, marketing production professionals don’t need to reinvent the wheel to scale their efforts as their company (and all the available marketing channels) grow exponentially.

Mayhem Managed

The age-old challenges of retail operations, including inventory, supply chain, and logistical headaches, will always be with us. Data security and privacy issues, not to mention plain old competition, will not simply go away. However, the marketing challenges posed by changes in customer behavior, including mobile e-commerce, can be met successfully – without undue disruption. All it takes is to connect the tools we already possess and use them effectively.

Find out more about how Comosoft LAGO can transform your retail operation’s marketing output, accuracy, and efficiency. Or book a demo to see for yourself.