Implementing Digital Spaces
How we are approaching the final stage of digital retail projects, the implementation phase.
In our previous posts in this series 'Why digital?', 'Defining Digital Retail' & 'Approaching Digital Spaces', we covered the reasons and expectations brands have to create retail experiences of the future, defined what components digital and physical components make up this type of environment as well as introduced the first step of how we approach a project.
In the most recent post 'Designing Digital Spaces', we continued looking at the next steps in our approach. This includes the planning phase in which we are drawing up potential touchpoints in the consumer journey that need to be included to meet the consumer’s expectations. After the planning phase, we use the outcomes to design and iterate the implementation of the project. Each project and its dependencies are unique and require close attention to detail.
Once we worked out how and when which touchpoint needs to be implemented to meet the estimated opening date of the store, we start the final phase in our approach, the physical implementation.
This part of the project is about alignment, supervision, and orchestration. With so many stakeholders and vendors involved, it´s necessary to keep track of changes and ensure proper communication across teams.
What we always do in the implementation phase is setting a logistics plan. Especially in the technology sector, a lot of the items are coming from abroad and need to go through customs on time to not delay the store delivery schedule. Besides digital elements in a store, there is also a lot of furniture that needs to be built and installed. Multiple deliveries happen every day on a construction site, which requires a detailed planning of what items comes when and how, what local regulations need to be considered, to dispose all the waste to avoid blocking off pathways and working space.
Besides the logistics plan, we also design an installation plan, in which we detail out all the pre-requisites needed to be fulfilled before implementation partners can come on-site to start installing items like screens, sensors or backend hardware like players and transmitters. To ensure everything is in place for installation, we supporting as the on-site supervisor make sure that the power and network is up and running and check-off everything relevant for a successful on-site implementation.
We also coordinate all the vendor’s delivery schedules and assign time to make sure that it aligns with the overall project timeline.
In a complex project with lots of different parties involved, there is always a possibility for complications. We will make sure to come up with suitable solutions to not put the scope in jeopardy. We document everything and conduct quality inspections to ultimately hand over a final product that meets the client’s expectations. Before we hand over the project to the client, we also train the store staff and managers on how to utilize the new tools as effectively and as sustainably as possible.
For every installed digital item, we usually define a service model to quickly resolve issues through the usage of helpdesk or a service app. The service model is customizable and together with our client, we define and evaluate the criticality of service levels to identify the best service concept that fits their specific needs.
Optionally, we look at standardizing elements in each store to roll-out technologies that are relevant for each individual store format in terms of specification and cost effectiveness. Therefore, we identify which kind of touchpoints make sense for the respective store size and format to look for local adaptations, like localized content requirements or helpdesk availability in the local languages.
To allow rollout at schedule, we´ve helped clients to setup a digital order platform where they can pick the digital touchpoints of their choice to equip their store with. This gives you a blueprint at hand to streamline your global stores concepts based on the setup of a single store and so further shape the global appearance of your brand. This includes provisioning of guidelines and manuals.
This concludes our series about how we are approaching digital retail projects. In the end, it is worth mentioning again that everything which includes digital tools and applications is driven by the people using it. That could be the employee in the store, or the consumer directly interacting with touchpoint on the consumer journey. For this reason, it would be negligent to turn your back on staff training and their empowerment, as employees are still one of the most important touchpoints for customers. When feeling comfortable with latest systems and technologies, they can also serve as ambassadors for the offered digital experiences and solutions, lifting the experience onto the next level.
Next, we will share an interview with one of our experienced consultants who will summarize the whole approach and will also talk about experiences and insights from previous projects. Afterwards, we are introducing the next series of one of our competency centers. Stay tuned for exciting content!
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