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How To Digitise Your Retail Business

By Maria Hickey on July 15th, 2022

Online shopping has quickly become part of our subconscious in recent years, but what does that mean for retail business owners that run brick-and-mortar shops?

While online shopping has changed the expectations for many consumers, people still enjoy shopping in person in a retail setting where they get to touch and examine the physical products they are interested in buying.

Shoppers also like the personal touch and the individual attention from a friendly shop assistant. This is something people have come to appreciate and value highly, especially after the pandemic when most people were forced into isolation.

However, the speed and convenience of online shopping do present a real challenge to retail shop owners that need to be addressed. By adopting digital-first retail technology, and using it to your advantage, your business will be in a stronger position.

What Does Digital Retail Mean?

Digital retail means embracing technology and implementing useful digital tools into your retail business procedures that compliment your services and enhance your customer’s shopping experience.

There are ways to draw all that is good from a customer’s positive online shopping experience and integrate it into or alongside your physical shop.

To put this into simple terms, you make your retail shop more like an e-commerce operation to attract more customers into your physical shop. This can include adopting methods to speed up the buying process, for example, offering click-and-collect online ordering and contactless card payments at your till.

Many traditional retail shop owners are complementing their brick-and-mortar retail shop with a digital retail store where their customers can choose between ordering goods and paying for them immediately online or in-person on the collection of their order from your shop.

What Are The Benefits of Digital Retail?

If you embrace methods that help speed up your customer’s shopping experience, you can offer those who choose to shop with you significant benefits. And as a business, you can take advantage of consumer habits such as impulse buying.

Your customers can buy goods from you immediately at any time of day or night without the need to wait until your physical shop is open. This also reduces the risk of your customers changing their mind about a purchase.


The many issues shoppers have with large physical stores are finding the items they are looking for; such as, finding the right size, colour, model etc. Thousands of people find shopping frustrating, and anything you can do to alleviate their frustration and speed up the process will make your business a more popular place to shop.

As already mentioned, speed up your checkout by using contactless payments where your customers can pay with a simple tap of their debit card. If you operate a large store, why not adopt a mobile POS system commonly used in restaurants that allow customers to pay from where they are on your premises instead of needing to spend time standing in a queue at a till point.

A top tip from digital retail consulting firms, which works amazingly well in larger shops operating over many floors, is to use RFID (radio frequency identification) tags. These tags allow your staff to track and locate every item in your inventory, which can be invaluable if any of your stock has been misplaced or is on display in the wrong place.


If there is one outstanding benefit of digital retail that surpasses all others, it is the convenience of picking up your phone and ordering what you want in a matter of seconds.

Although a traditional brick-and-mortar retail store may open for long hours, there will be many hours it will be closed for business each day.

But suppose you can adopt digital technologies into your retail business that allows your customers to buy your goods out of hours, through click & collect, for example. In that case, you can still deliver a high level of convenience to your customers.

Click & Collect is a system many shoppers have taken to heart because it works well for busy people with complex working schedules. They can order what they want from you and pick it up at a time that suits them without having to physically browse your shelves.

Personalised Experiences

The customer experience is an essential factor for any successful retail business today. With a whole generation of shoppers being raised with online technology, customers expect personalised service when shopping online today.

You only have to look at sites such as Amazon and eBay to see how easily they have grown to dominate the online shopping marketplace. They caught on early about the importance of a personalised shopping experience.

When you look for a new phone on Amazon, you will also be automatically served with complementary items that you may find helpful to go with your new phone, such as a phone case or a replacement phone charger, screen wipes etc.

All these little extras help to enhance the customer experience and enable them to quickly buy things they may not have thought about.

Shop From Anywhere

The ability to shop remotely from anywhere is a significant advantage of digital retail. If your customers don’t have the time to shop in person because they are working an extra shift at work or are working in a remote location where it would be impossible to pop out for a bit of shopping, they can still place an order and buy what they want.

Regular Updates

When social media took off, it didn’t take long for retailers to pick up on the fact that users also liked to follow their favourite product brands.

Shoppers like to keep up to date with the latest products coming onto the market or special offers on their favourite lines.

How Can I Digitise My Retail Store?

There are several ways you can digitise your brick-and-mortar retail shop. Here are some top tips to try:

  • Create An eCommerce Website:
    Setting up an eCommerce store to complement your retail shop is simple. You can display your inventory and offer plenty of product details to encourage your customers to buy. If you run a local shop, click & collect or free delivery would be a great option.
  • Sell On Social Media:
    You can create a Facebook shop and link it to your Facebook and Instagram business pages.
  • Sell On Amazon / eBay:
    Both Amazon and eBay offer retail business accounts where you can sell through the two most popular online retail platforms worldwide.
  • Use Email Marketing:
    Although email marketing has been around for a long time, it offers a great way to send your customer personalised emails and updates about special offers or exclusive limited offer lines.

What Kinds of Digital Insurance Might I Need For My Retail Store?

You must have the right online retail insurance for your brick-and-mortar shop, but you may need to check your policy to see if your coverage covers any digital aspects of your retail shop.

You may have cover to protect loss and damage to your stock and public and product liability insurance to protect you from any risk and liabilities related to the products you sell. But it would be best if you never assumed your policy covered your digital tools. If you sell electronic goods you may need a separate electrical goods insurance policy to cover this stock.

As experts in insurance, we can help you compare business insurance quotes to find the right coverage for your needs.


Even though online shopping has become the norm in our society, it has not reduced the need or desire for a brick-and-mortar retail shop experience.

Retail stores that embrace digital retail technology in their physical shops can capitalise on their benefits and entice more customers to shop with them digitally and in-store.

Maria Hickey

For more than 20 years, Maria has worked in the insurance sector and has extensive underwriting and customer service expertise. Maria is an experienced Senior Underwriter with a particular specialism for shop, office and surgery related insurance.

All articles by Maria Hickey

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