Vodafone UK discusses the most exciting ways technology is changing dynamics in retail.
From chatbots and drones to augmented reality, disruptive technologies were at the core of Tech. by Retail Week, showcasing that the ‘future’ of retail is already a reality.
Shop Direct with its online conversion rate at 4% (beating the industry average of 2.8%) is leading the way in creating the best possible shopping experience across all channels, utilising technology such as artificial intelligence in the supply chain and through customer personalisation.
Having a customer-centric strategy was a theme across both days of the conference, with Paul Misener of Amazon calling on industry leaders to “obsess over customers” and not the competition.
”No matter the size or scale of an organisation, being agile and responsive for customers relies on the succinctness of data management and usage”
At Amazon the first stage of development involves writing a media release in customer language. This ensures that from the very beginning there is a clearly defined focus for the outcome of the customer problem being solved.
Retailers and tech providers approach customer obsession in varied ways, but there was one consistent theme – data. No matter the size or scale of an organisation, being agile and responsive to customers relies on the succinctness of data management and usage.
Innovating to improve the customer experience
Using this data to enhance the digital customer experience is the ultimate success. The next generation shopper is relentless, expecting choice and personalisation in product and delivery, as well as speed and value for money every time they shop.
Two-thirds of UK customers believe retailers should do more to bring technology into their stores, and 77% feel that AI can transform their shopping experiences.
The speakers at Tech. demonstrated that by integrating data to create seamless experiences for customers across every touchpoint, clear rewards could be reaped.
“65% of today’s primary school children will grow up to do jobs that don’t yet exist”
Many challenges come with moving towards a digital-first business, but as well as innovating to improve the customer experience, successful retailers are embracing technology as a productivity enabler.
A recent report from the World Economic Forum states that 65% of today’s primary school children will grow up to do jobs that don’t yet exist.
Although this is an intimidating statistic, it’s a situation we must embrace and plan for in the way we work and serve customers.
The impact of millennials and Generation Z on ways of working are already apparent; creating working environments that are more flexible, agile and digitally-enabled is crucial.
Retail Week’s Tech. was a snapshot of what’s to come: a world where shoppers no longer need dressing rooms as they can see themselves in clothes through augmented reality; where drones deliver items to your door in under half an hour; in which shoppers have fluid conversations with customer service chatbots over Facebook messenger.
In retail’s future, the power of data will be leveraged, and ultimately reported, as an asset on balance sheets.
Bernie Marolia, head of sales, major corporate at Vodafone UK