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INDUSTRY INSIGHTS

  • 24 Jan

2010 Retail Technology Reflections and the Road Ahead…

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Alex IevinsAs I can’t quite believe we are already reaching the end of January 2011, it set me off reflecting on 2010 and what 2011 may have in store for us, aside from attempting to keep to the usual New Year’s resolutions of eating and drinking less, and getting back into the gym!

One of the new technologies influencing the retail sector in 2010 was of course the mobile App.  2011 is likely to see this grow even further, as mobile technology becomes ever more advanced, and utilised, particularly as a purchasing channel. The use of smartphones and m-commerce are allowing retailers to start utilising QR (Quick Response) codes, two-dimensional bar codes that can be read by mobile phones.  This will enable retailers to encode information to either allow customers to see product details, video content, or drive them to a website.  Who would have thought all this would be possible from taking a photo with your phone!

Multichannel retail; whilst this is no new phenomenon, it appears that retailers really started to embrace the channels available to them, and this is certainly set to continue for 2011. Although investing in multichannel half heartedly is not the way forward; full attention needs to be given in each channel to ensure the customer journey is consistent and opportunities to transact maximised throughout.

Not forgetting the massive growth in Social Media and its importance to retailers. 2010 really was the year that retailers got on board with social media.  Providing retailers with the communication tool to engage with their market, gain strong followship, and essentially influence the decision to buy.  With news recently about our client ASOS launching the ability to buy through Facebook, I wonder how many retailers will start to add transactional Facebook stores to their multichannel strategy in 2011.

As this year progresses I predict that we are likely to see each of these areas continue to grow in importance, and we won’t see a retailer at the end of 2011 who doesn’t embrace each of these channels in some form or another.

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