Tuesday, October 2, 2012

How retailers are taking online innovation to bricks and mortar


How many times have you walked past a shop window to see a mannequin with only one arm and clothes draped haphazardly?
This has become an all too common sight on today’s British high street and one that today’s consumers are more conscious of given the increasing online retail market.
Smart retailers need to do more to enchance the in-store experience for today's tech-savvy shoppers. 
The High Street Review from the Government revealed that retail spending in town centres has fallen to 42% and is projected to fall further to 40% by 2014.


Mary Portas’ own report analysed the issues surrounding the decline and suggested various recommendations to improve the British high street. However, Portas’ report was more in-tune with ‘old retail’, Sunday markets and better parking.
When, in contrast to the drop in high street spending, online shopping has risen to 10%, doubling since 2000, it is these digital initiatives that should be considered to rejuvenate our high streets. This is a topic covered in Econsultancy's recent 'How the Internet can Save ther High Street' report. 
As technological innovation starts to become the norm for many consumers in their homes, their use on the high street by both big and small retailers can create a visionary ‘High Street 2.0’. Those already taking steps to integrate innovative shopping tools are now ahead of the curve. 
Last week Marks & Spencer opened its new Cheshire Oaks store showcasing an array of digital innovations to aid shoppers from staff equipped with iPads, to Wi-Fi, QR codes and virtual counters.

Earlier this year Oasis, part of the Aurora Fashion Group, won ‘Technology Initiative of the Year’ for its use of iPad PoS in its Argyll street store at the 2012 Retail Week Awards.
For the size of the Oasis store several iPads were used to create a professional customer experience, however for a smaller, independent retailer, a modest one-off cost of an iPad can be far out-weighed by the ROI.
This innovation demonstrates how technology can be used to provide customers with a seamless, truly ‘omnichannel’ experience.


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