Retailers must embrace technology to remain relevant

high street london

Retailers need to continue to embrace technology and personalise the shopping experience for consumers if they are going to stay relevant, say tax and advisory firm Blick Rothenberg. Mark Hart, retail partner at the firm spoke to Business Leader about the future of the sector.

Weston College Tech month banner

With Boohoo announcing 35% increase in pre-tax profits to £124.7 million on increased revenues of 41% to £1.7billion and Klarna announcing a planned increase in UK employees, it is clear that the way consumers shop is changing at a fast pace.

Boohoo’s results also incorporate some of the results of their recent acquisitions out of Arcadia which are now being refreshed. Online retail is also embracing new banking and payments platforms which mean customers can often purchase and then return goods on credit easily as a result.

The uptake of online shopping has jumped massively since the start of the pandemic and the retail landscape has dramatically altered. The shopping experience will look very different in ten years’ time and retailers need to embrace technology to stay ahead. This extends to all those in the retail supply chain including wholesalers and manufacturers. Each element of the supply chain must embrace data and data analytics in order understand their customers.

With online transactions meeting the needs of most basic shopping in ten years’ time, many are predicting the death of all bricks and mortar stores, however, there will continue to be a need for a physical presence to maintain brand awareness.

Retailers need to take a lead from the theme park sector in ensuing customers receive an instore experience which is welcoming and ensures they come away with a feeling that the store knows them as a person.

In order to differentiate themselves traditional retailers need to offer personalized approaches to create unique experiences tailored to individual customers. Research shows that this drives loyalty and increased sales. It can be achieved through the use of data collected through online and physical shopping so that relevant messages are sent creating suggested experiences.

We will see an increase in the number of stores which are designed around creating a brand experience so that customers can try the product even if it is fulfilled through online purchases and delivery. These could include the use of digital changing rooms where customers will be able to see how individual garments look on them and receive suggestions of what accessories to purchase.

Click here for more content from our special Tech Month, brought you by Weston College.