15 Sep Proactive rather than reactive: the future of technology in retail
Like so many other industries, UK retailers are facing a shifting future towards a strategy based around digital transformation. As more and more customers choose to buy online the British high street must predict the next wave of technological change, then quickly adapt to keep pace and remain relevant and profitable. How quickly organisations adapt, innovate and deal with change affects their ability to compete and remain relevant. Within retail, maybe more than any other sector, the impact of this is often highly visible.
It’s often said the future of high street retail looks impossibly tough, but there are strategies to keep your brand at the front of consumers’ minds:
Rather than constantly reacting to problems, why not focus the IT team on making the customer experience as good as it can be? If the IT leadership team are solely focused with IT supply chains and equipment maintenance, they simply won’t have the time or strategic ability to think proactively. History shows us that many of the most innovative ideas come from the operational teams who sit outside of the team charged with customer engagement.
The focus of retail leadership should be simple. Start with committing to truly own your own data, because your customers are probably telling you what you need to change already. By examining your business critical information you can gain enormous insight into the processes involved in your industry. Studies show that only 51% of large retailers implement analytics that could help them better understand customers’ behaviour. Are the other half simply guessing? In retail, forecasting is extremely important to financial success. This could make the difference between understanding your weak spots, and planning strategically for growth, or a reactive spiral that risks your sales margin.
Another key area to focus on for retail leaders is customer experience. How often do you go back to a store where the experience has been a let down? As more and more transactions happen online an omni-channel approach is essential to capturing purchases both in-store and at home. When we look at the past 10 years, we’ve partnered with many leading UK retail chains, including Carpetright, Specsavers, Nationwide, Carphone Warehouse, River Island and helped them to remain relevant and right at the front of their sector.
At Ricoh we’re partnering with leading UK retailers to help them reach their strategic goals. We do this by delivering support for change within their IT infrastructure and services. High street retailers such as River Island trust us to supply, monitor and safeguard the technologies they need to run a complex, multi-location and rapidly changing business. This gives the retailer the ability to focus on what matters most in their industry – innovation and creativity.
Our team combines retail solutions with comprehensive managed IT services expertise. This gives retailers best of breed technologies, combined with instore and remote support. We’re ready to help you drive more efficiency and value, from the stockroom to the checkout.
For further information about how Ricoh’s IT Services team supports UK business, and to read our case studies, click here.