- 25 Nov 2013
How is technology impacting on our high street?
With the emergence and accessibility of omnichannel technology we are increasingly shopping more with our fingers than our feet. We are becoming habitual online shoppers, making smartphones and tablets the shopping accessory. But how does this new adoption of the internet and mobile technology affect retailers, and are there any repercussions on the bricks and mortar of retail today?
Customers can now shop an entire brand in an instant by way of websites, apps or social media. Technology is seemingly keeping customers out of the stores and away from the high streets. However, there are ways that technology keeps customers coming back into stores. Click and collect provides a way to get more customer information, and to create a link between online and bricks and mortar, making the store, the focal point. Technology and the high street need this balance. Pricing needs to be kept consistent across all channels so customers gain a true omnichannel experience across the brand and do not cannibalise sales between the channels.
As more customers continue to shop online, taking advantage of multichannel ease, expectations of the service they receive will naturally go up. Retailer supply chains must begin to adapt and evolve faster, being able to offer more accurate windows of localised delivery and a more personalised shopping experience. Not only to keep their customers, but also remain competitive within the market.
The role of the store will never diminish fully, but will have to keep evolving. The entire brand, including every part of the supply chain will have to work together in sync, using data received about customers from every channel to provide a personal and tailored service. As access to smartphones and tablets increases, the larger the potential of securing a sale. There is much talk of the high street becoming a show room for customers who then go and buy online. However much of the joy of shopping is when we get to interact physically with our product, feeling the material and engaging with fashion. Shopping is an experience, a social event or even the opportunity to blow off a little steam and that feeling can never be filled by browsing pictures on a computer.
Technology is a socially accepted norm, and the instant access to an ever changing world of trends, product and innovation has transformed everyday life. However we are a long way from seeing the high street store disappear, and the phrase “shop until you drop” luckily won’t be leaving our lexicon just yet.