According to experts brought together for BT’s Retailtopia project, retailers who find in-store ways to complement e-commerce and m-commerce (mobile device) transactions are “the future face of UK retail”.
The panel envisioned a future of queue-less and wireless transactions, constant stock availability and instant online content, in which shoppers can enjoy a seamless experience and interact with a multitude of devices.
What’s more, if retailers fail to ‘move with the times’, they risk falling behind their competitors.
Professor Patrick Barwise, chair of the Retailtopia panel, said: “The UK is already a global leader in online shopping, with nearly £30 billion of sales coming through this channel in 2011.
“But retailers face tough challenges in the current economy.
“There’s a danger that a focus on short-term profitability and reduced investment in innovation could damage our long-term ability to create the best shopping experience in the world and ensure we’re still a global leader in 2020.”
Retailers are likely to demand significantly more from their IT infrastructure in the future, because their customers will be more demanding.
As Emer Timmons, president of BT Global Services UK, noted, consumers will shop for “anything, anytime, anywhere”.
The time and convenience of online shopping is a huge part of its appeal, which makes it likely that the retailers who can offer their customers consistently minimal waiting times in-store and online will be the most successful.
The panel also predicted that geographical boundaries will blur as e-commerce expands, with more shoppers looking beyond the UK to make their purchases.
Some retailers may even implement IT-focused strategies within their bricks-and-mortar stores.
This will give shoppers the best of both worlds – online shopping and being physically present in-store – and will empower them to use personal mobile devices as part of the experience rather than relying solely on staff.
This article originally appeared on Hostway
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