Links of London – how digital transformation is changing retail for the better

Joanna Jones

11 May 2017

Digital transformation is the buzzphrase on everyone’s lips at the moment, and it was the hottest topic at the Retail Business Technology Expo (RBTE) this year.

Links of London is one of many businesses attempting this change. Mark Byrne, head of its global brand team, spoke at RBTE about how and why the brand is transforming every IT aspect of its business – if it can be plugged in, it’s being upgraded.

Here’s what he had to say…

Why now?

It’s simple: Links of London’s old systems and processes were no match for today’s digitally savvy customer.

And it’s true – when I’m shopping I expect the most seamless service possible. It’s not because I’m impatient (I think) – It’s just what I have come to expect. I expect to have all the information at my fingertips, store inventory details, multiple delivery options… what makes me sound like the customer from hell is now the norm.

When customer loyalty is the key differentiator in the retail space, businesses need to do everything they can to keep customers coming back.

How is Links of London changing?

Links of London’s digital transformation roadmap is made up of three phases:

1. Web infrastructure

By implementing a new order management system and email service provider, impatient customers like me now have multiple fulfilment options, receive consistent and well-timed communications and can browse stock across all its stores

2. Store point of sale (POS) software

This in-store technology allows store employees to capture customer information, answer consumer queries and serve customers from anywhere in the store without making them join the back of a queue. This means indecisive customers (again – like me) can have easy access to Links of London’s entire range, make a quick purchase and have an e-receipt sent to their email instantly.

3. Loyalty

This transformation technology all serves one purpose – to inspire brand loyalty. By implementing loyalty programmes, all customers are treated like VIPs.

Ironically, Martin states, digital transformation has encouraged Links of London to improve its ‘offline’ experiences as much as their digital processes. As a result, it has invested in store design and employee training to support its digitally updated systems.

Will digital transformation for Links of London succeed?

To end the presentation, Martin emphasises the importance of retaining Links of London’s brand DNA throughout the whole digital transformation process.

It is easy to get caught up in the flurry of digital transformation – to forget your brand DNA. But while digital transformation changes your digital capabilities, it shouldn’t change your culture or what you stand for.

No one needs an excuse to browse a jewellery shop (me especially), so there will always be a market for Links of London to tap into.

The challenge it faces is growing competition – both on the high street and online. But digital transformation will help future-proof its physical stores and drive the customer loyalty it so covets.