Retail has only seen the ‘tip of the iceberg’ of the effect mobile will have, according to Carphone Warehouse chief executive Andrew Harrison.

Speaking at the Metapack conference, Harrison said 4G will have big implications for retailers.

“It is going to be like the difference of moving from dial up to broadband and we have to think of all the changes that has made,” he said.

“What people don’t realise is as the technology changes so do the things you do and the way you behave. Think of all the things that were launched since 3G was invented 10 years ago. People will become more reliant on their phones and that will continue to change what we do.”

Harrison added retailers will need to think ‘incredibly differently’ in the future. “I run a large physical business and it’s important but I do think as retailers we will have to be prepared to think incredibly differently.”

One issue the industry will need to tackle is the problem of products being out of stock, he added. “There’s probably more business to be gained by sorting that out than growth in online,” he said. “So many times I will ask for something and they won’t have the right size. Those kind of things are inexcusable going forward.”

Harrison said retailers who don’t accept the world is changing will have a problem. “We have a host of competitors who have ripped up the rule book.” These businesses have been built with online in mind, he added. “If you’re online only you look at business in a different way. You drive it through data. In retail generally there’s been more art than science.”

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