One of the biggest epiphanies that emerged from our research for the report, “How Digital Thinking Separates Retail Leaders from Laggards” is the difference between leaders and laggards. Digital leaders see digital transformation as a positive, while digital laggards express far more fears and concerns related to digital technologies. In fact, almost 72% of digital laggards are concerned they are wasting money by investing in digital technologies, but only 25% of digital leaders share those apprehensions.
In our analysis, the worries expressed by some digital laggards are justified, as they may be the result of existing IT environments that are incapable of delivering a real-time, contextually relevant and personalized digital shopping experience. These concerns may also stem from leadership’s unwillingness to adopt a digital mindset or invest in the required upgrades, technologies, doctrines, strategies, skills and business processes to elevate their organization’s digital wherewithal.
A retailer’s attitude about the potential of digital technologies to positively impact business performance is an important indicator of the company’s commitment to digital transformation and is seen as a predictor of digital success. Digitally mature retailers are significantly more enthusiastic about how digital impacts their work than digital laggards are. Our research findings suggest a correlation between a retailer’s growth trajectory and its confidence that digital technologies deployed between now and 2020 will have a positive impact on growth.
Retail executives at companies that are digital leaders have a far more positive attitude than laggards about the impact of digital technologies on their jobs. These retail executives believe, at a significantly higher level than those at laggard organizations, that digital technologies will help them become more efficient, manage people better, work faster, be more creative and innovative, make better decisions, provide more freedom and flexibility, and make more money.
When asked a more general question about the impact of digital on work, retail digital leaders expressed their belief in a far stronger impact than digital laggards did. The majority of digital leaders feel business analytics, AI, concerns about security and privacy, bots, digital technology regulations and practices will greatly impact work, as will the state of being hyper-connected.