We attended the Digital Advice Live event, organised by Smart Assistant, with no particular aspirations except curiosity. With a very impressive line-up, it made me, in particular, think what the content for the day will manifest into. Buying influences within the digital age, who are leading the way with digital transformation within the retail sector or a fashion parade for brand advocation for the sponsors? Well, all I can say is it was all of the above and much more.

With topics such as AI and Chatbots, Digital Trends, Omnichannel experiences and more it was a digital marketing fest that, over the course of the day, gave so much information to digest.

Markus Linder, CEO at SmartAssistant started the event with an insightful view of the future trends in the digital age, then swiftly followed by David Smith, CEO at Global Futures and Foresight, discussing the topic ‘First we do things differently, and then we do different things!’ Yes, this was one of many clichés that followed throughout the day, but these words did strike a chord to change one’s perspective.

Next up was my personal favourite, Peter Francis, VP of Digital Growth and Acquisition at T-Mobile. Peter shared some amazing growth statistics that T-Mobile have achieved with some alarming sector facts that were very interesting to hear. For example – “Since the migration from Digital Forms to Digital Assistants and Advisors T-Mobile have increased their web conversion rates for sales by 300% and web orders have increased by 3.5x!” I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to have several discussions with Peter and it seemed that the main reason for the increased revenue was down to an understanding of the consumer mindset. Multitasking is now a basic essential skill required by ALL of us and the need for shorter and frequent interaction is more in demand. This rings true when you place smart assistants and chatbots in that role to the customer and it seems to be a winning strategy.

Next up to discuss how Miele has evolved digitally was Elena Helfberend, Head of Sales and Project Management at Miele. Now Miele has changed the way they engage their customers massively, just take a look at their online retail presence. Some interesting statistics were demonstrated by Elena that highlights their research on buying influences with conversions – This is what they found based on the touch points that they analysed broken down by percentages.

Traditional sources

Print media 43% – in-store help 43% – family and friends 33% – dealers catalogue 17% – Manufacturing catalogue 14%

Digital Sources

Websites 54% – Customer Reviews 51% – Dealers Website 42% – Manufacturers website 35% – Online Forums 12%

I believe that these statistics for digital sources could and would be more for other firms within the retail sector but at the very least this information shows us one thing that cannot be overlooked. Digital sales are increasing, and if you haven’t transformed yet, your competitors are.

There were many other discussions during the day that demonstrated valuable insights into the retail sector and Digital Transformation, including Ben Hart Director at Evens Cycles and how they guide their customers through an online experience, Curtis Bice, Marketing Project Manager at Trek Bicycle and the value of enriching the digital customer journey. There was also, Stephanie Maeder, Experience Manager at Swisscom discussing how they have improved the customer experience with Digital Advice and Tamara Dutina, Digital Marketing Specialist at Beko with their advice on how to guide and advise shoppers to engage.

[easy-tweet tweet=”A new generation is here to see, react and engage within an inherently different way” hashtags=”AI, Engagement”]

I will try and summarise my key takeaways from the event without cliché’s, analogies and from a consumer’s viewpoint. It seems clear that the buying experience has changed and continued to do so. To win that customer over you need to think digital, you need to think engagement, and you need to think smart! A new generation is here to see, react and engage within an inherently different way than a decade ago. With the continued advancements in technology and the ever-increasing online community, you simply have to adopt a digital strategy, and this is not just within the retail sector, it’s every sector.

Look what T-Mobile has done, look what Apple has done and look what Google is doing. Yes, they are giants within the industry, but they have invested huge amounts of time and money to get the overall customer experience right. Take a note from their experiences and replicate some of their strategies in your own business. However, the first leap is the biggest – review how your customers perceive you and how you interact with them as this will give you valuable insights.