While many of our customers already felt the need to digitally transform, the added pressures of a pandemic have accelerated that need unexpectedly. Many businesses have been forced to pivot quickly and adapt (almost overnight) in a way that may be unfamiliar to survive in our “new normal” and meet rapidly changing consumer needs. 

While this change can be overwhelming, we want to assure you that it’s nothing you can’t do. From what we’ve found, digital transformation for businesses in retail begins with simple changes that center around increasing accessibility and convenience, establishing trust, and most importantly, re-imagining the consumer experience. To help you make the transition, we’ve gathered a list of insights from customers and experts on how businesses are taking advantage of opportunities to set themselves up for success as our economy reopens. 

1. List your products on every platform. One pawnshop in Rhode Island has been working to get their products onto every different channel they can, including sites that they may not have previously considered such as eBay, Etsy, Facebook marketplace, and Instagram. They’ve been seeing particular success using Shopify to sell on multiple channels and make items one-click buys. Boost your website features to allow customers a one-click buying experience from any channel and post your goods to multiple channels to reach more leads and make your wares more accessible. 

Option: Shopify       Cost: $0 for ninety days

2. Do business over text. With increasingly high demand and shipping/curbside pick up delays, many customers are experiencing consumer fear and are panic-buying. Consumers need reassurance, and retailers can offer consumers this reassurance with transparent and responsive communication (about things like anticipated delays and inventory) through text. As we move forward, customers should be able to quickly check shipping, place orders, and ask you questions about your products from their text inboxes. They should also be able to pay through text. King’s Jewelry and Loan of Los Angeles has found success not only in leveraging mass communication via messaging, but collecting loan payments via messaging as well. They processed $85k in thirty days by simply sending texts with payment links, allowing customers to conveniently pay without contact, without a credit card, and without having to go inside their store. Download a “text us we’re open” template below and place it in your store window to spread the word that you’ve gone mobile.

Option: Podium       Cost: Get started for $0 

3. Use video to offer a virtual shopping experience. Even as we reopen, the number of people permitted in a physical place of business and people’s comfort levels with human contact vary widely. Video shopping is quickly becoming the new face-to-face conversation, with major retailers such as lululemon offering complimentary virtual shopping experiences. Bill McLoughlin, Editor and Chief of Furniture Today, predicts that virtual shopping may become the new standard not only because it is able to effectively show measurements, mechanics, and fit of products, but also because it may have the power to reinstate trust between businesses and consumers. Through video, consumers will be able to see what measures businesses are putting in place to keep their customers and staff safe, such as social distancing, masks, sanitizing, etc. Offer a complimentary video option for your customers and train employees to be able to walk customers through the showroom and effectively communicate personalization, care, and consideration.

Option: Podium Videochat       Cost: (Request a quote)


The bottom line is that the customer experience is going to have to look radically different from what it was even 2-3 months ago. Recent research indicates that for the first time ever, customer loyalty no longer depends on price, but on the experience consumers have with your business. As far as we can see, that trend is going to continue—and digital transformation by way of channel expansion, text, and video selling will set you up to provide your customers with the best experience possible—and keep them coming back. 

To learn more about reopening your business in our digital age, check out our new Guide, The Simple Guide to Digital Transformation.

Jason A’alona
Jason A’alona Director of Retail Sales

Jason A’alona is a retail professional at Podium, the leading messaging platform that connects consumer businesses with their customers.

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