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Multichannel retail technologies driving online retail growth in 2018

25 January 2018 00:00:00

An amended version of this article was originally posted on internetretailing.net

UK retail sales growth for 2017 stood at just 1.9%, the lowest since 2013. In the newest wake-up call for retailers to embrace online and new technology, the share of eCommerce stood at a record of nearly 20% of total sales.

The macro economic factors: rising inflation, low wage growth and rise in interest rates are likely to have been influential and the first half of 2018 may be challenging too. At the same time, 2018 does look set to be a transformational year for retail – with an increasing use of AI services anticipated plus the rise of ‘browserless commerce’ (through devices such as voice assistants). It may be that we see shopper behaviour shift significantly over the coming period.

Bhavesh Unadkat, principal consultant in retail customer engagement, Capgemini [IRDX VCPG], said: “2018 will be ultra competitive with continued uncertainty, retailers will therefore need to be focused on their plans to both survive and grow. One opportunity for growth and differentiation will come from emerging technology as we saw as a focus in 2017 – voice and social commerce, connected devices and AI all drove interest and investment and will continue to do so – the big challenge will remain as how to drive value and industrialising this capability. A second opportunity will be deepening relationships with customers and taking an insight driven approach to omni-channel retail – one which arguably remains a gap for many retailers across channels. Many have got it right across certain channels, however not across the whole customer experience across all channels.

“Finally, there is sometimes so much focus on technology and innovation we can forget retail basics – ensuring the product mix is right, availability is on point, the shop front is one to be proud of, and ensuring the team are well equipped to give customers the best service can be just as important. 2018 will be volatile but very exciting as we see the great retail industry again raise the bar!”

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