Innovation explained: Digital Integration

Mobile technologies are part of our daily lives. Smartphones, tablets and the like have not only found their way into our living rooms, but also to workstations and shops. With the advent of mobile devices, we have access to infinite information, anywhere at any time. Order in Store is a technology that brings the physical and digital worlds together in retail. Developments such as Amazon’s Dash Button also combine physical products with digital processes and have shaped the retail landscape for the future. The buzzword behind all these processes is digital integration.


In the changing digital landscape, companies and industries need to rethink their thinking. It is not only the industry that is transforming itself into a Smart Factory or Industry 4.0, trade must also react to the changes and make use of opportunities such as the Internet of Things. Physical retailers in particular will benefit from these digital trends and regain the customers they have lost to e-commerce in the past. Nowadays, physical and digital businesses have to move together rather than separately.


A step into digital integration

At present, online retailers have access to information about their consumers through the data collected in the online shop. They know what their customers buy, what they look at and how they want to be addressed. Technology Gigant Intel believes that physical businesses should have the same information and plans to invest $100 million in the digital expansion of retail over the next five years. The project “Connected Store” will integrate digital real-time signals into intelligent POS terminals. In addition, other gadgets such as smart media carts or intelligent POS systems are in the planning stage to enable customers to create an individual and tailor-made shopping experience in the store. Similar to the experience he knew only from the internet.

In this way, local retailers can pass content and information directly to individual customers. A strategy to combat the death of retailers in city centres and pedestrian zones.

Digital integration in the application

There are several ways for companies to practice digital integration in their daily business.

In principle, however, traders and entrepreneurs must first become aware of their products. You need to create a plan of the digital-physical integration potential and see which services can be digitally enriched. This plan will give the farmer a competitive advantage, but such expansion will also involve costs and specific expertise. Not an easy task, because in order to really arouse the interest of the customers, perseverance is required. Digital integration is a lengthy process that can also be frustrating.

However, if the retailer holds out, he gets a never-known insight into the customers’ shopping experience. He builds up detailed insights into the customer experience and can optimize it. Digital technologies play a central role here. Retailers need to recognize how they can use them to improve customer satisfaction and loyalty in the long term.

Digital integration requires rethinking

Every innovation requires a new approach and openness to change. Traders and entrepreneurs need to change the way they view their processes. With creative ideas and sophistication, they must find their way into the future. Digital innovation can be seen in the products and services on site, but definitely also in various other processes such as customer journeys and marketing.

Dealers must therefore put together a digital team of experts to help them transform. Only in this way can they perfectly combine the digital and the physical and create a new customer experience.

Alexander Pinker
Alexander Pinker
Alexander Pinker is an innovation profiler, future strategist and media expert who helps companies understand the opportunities behind technologies such as artificial intelligence for the next five to ten years. He is the founder of the consulting firm "Alexander Pinker - Innovation Profiling", the innovation marketing agency "innovate! communication" and the news platform "Medialist Innovation". He is also the author of three books and a lecturer at the Technical University of Würzburg-Schweinfurt.

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