It seems like almost anything is possible with the help of technology today. We can pay with a smartphone, check-in to hotels with a mobile device, or track exercising, eating, and sleeping habits with a wearable.
Businesses have also taken note of the digital revolution. Disruptive technologies like cloud computing, the Internet of things, wireless presentation, mobile devices, social media, wearables, and others have caused businesses to shift strategies. In fact, those that don’t go digital, will likely get left behind. For instance, 52 percent of traffic to retail websites comes from tablets or smartphones. Even in developing countries, one out of three people are online.
Many are embracing technology through digital leadership. There are many, varying definitions of digital leadership. A concise definition is that it is when organizations or individuals drive innovation and growth with the help of digital tools. The part where some organizations do it wrong is that they think it is all about technology. The tools are important, but it is how they are used that produces real results.
One study by MIT found that companies that are mastering digital leadership are profiting from it. According to the study, they generate about 9 percent more revenue and are 26 percent more profitable than their competitors. Some companies have become all-stars at not only mastering digital leadership, but using it to generate revenue.


Take the icon brand burberry for an example. About a decade ago, the Britain-based luxury brand decided it needed a major transformation in order to remain competitive. Former Chief Executive Officer, Angela Ahrendts, and Chief Technology Officer, John Douglas, collaborated to develop and implement a digital strategy. The new strategy aimed to converge online and in-person retail experiences to create more convenient and personalized experiences for customers.
They have designed their flagship store in London to reflect the layout of their website. There are over 500 screens and 100 speakers in the store. When certain items, equipped with RFID tags, enter various locations throughout the building, they trigger video related to them to play on these screens. One of their many digital initiatives is called, “Customer 360”. With customer permission, the store tracks what an individual has tried on and purchased in the past. Then, they use previous shopping history to help customers the next time that they visit the store.
The transformation was a major success. Its revenue rose eight percent, from £461 million to £2.33 billion. Plus, the brand has inspired many other retailers to follow in their footsteps. Now, brands like Ray-Ban, Victoria’s Secret, Nordstrom and more are focusing on developing the digital space.
Key takeaway: Personalization is key to connecting with customers and increasing sales. One reports states that 86% of consumers say that personalization has influenced their buying decisions. One in five retailers are implementing a personalized digital strategy, and 74 percent of those that have implemented one have increased sales as a result.


The coffee giant has mastered the art of customer engagement. Their mobile app is the most used digital payment app in the United States, according to one Business Insider report. The report claims that about 5 million Starbucks transactions per week are conducted through it. Why has the mobile platform been such a success?
For one, mobile is convenient for much of their customer base. However, that is not the main reason. The primary reason for its success is that the company incentivizes user engagement by rewarding individuals each time that they use the app. It tracks how many times individuals use the app and lets them collect points, in the form of digital stars. Once customers have at least five stars, they can cash them in for a free refill or discounts. Accumulate over 12 stars, and you can get a free drink.
From a company perspective, the loyalty program is enhancing the customer experience and increasing sales. But, it also providing a platform, on which they can track customer data and purchasing behaviors better and send marketing content.
Key Takeaway: Mobile is crucial. Mobile usage has grown astronomically in the past few years, even overtaking desktop usage. According to ComScore, tablet usage has increased 1,721 percent and smartphone usage has increased 394 percent since 2010. Over half of the traffic to ecommerce sites originates from a mobile device.
It is common to see people surfing the Internet on their smartphone or tablet. In the workplace, mobile devices are becoming the norm. Many companies are cutting costs and increasing productivity by using mobile apps for employee engagement.
When it comes to engaging customers, many organizations find that mobile is the key. Today, having a digital presence isn’t just about being online or having a website. It’s about being where your customers are–on mobile devices.

Other businesses can look to these digital leadership examples to inspire their own initiatives. There are common themes that appear in companies that do it successfully. How are you using digital to help increase revenue in your company?