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  1. 1. SEPTEMBER 2016 AN INDEPENDENT SUPPLEMENT DISTRIBUTED IN THE GUARDIAN ON BEHALF OF MEDIAPLANET WHO TAKE SOLE RESPONSIBILITY FOR ITS CONTENTS RetailTechFUTUREOFTECH.CO.UK DougGardner TheCIOofRiver Islandonwhy investingintechis theheightoffashion SEAMUS SMITH Isonlineactivitybeginningto dictatetheretaillandscape?P4 HELEN DICKINSON OBE Ontheimportanceof understandingthecustomerP2
  2. 2. 2 FUTUREOFTECH.CO.UK AN INDEPENDENT SUPPLEMENT BY MEDIAPLANET MEDIAPLANETAN INDEPENDENT SUPPLEMENT BY MEDIAPLANET Helen Dickinson OBE Chief Executive, British Retail Consortium ARE YOUR CUSTOMERS LOSING THE IN-STORE EXPERIENCE? Understanding that today’s consumer moves effortlessly across different channels on their way to a transaction is perhaps the biggest challenge facing any retailer. Customers who walk in store after shopping online expect to be ‘recognised’ at the till, no matter where their buying journey began. It is now almost pointless to differentiate between an online or offline sale, such is the changing dynamic of our shopping habits. Increasingly all channels are equally important, so just investing in one may not be the right strategy. In store, customers expect accurate information about product availability and where to obtain something if it’s out of stock or the wrong size. They also expect informed, helpful and knowledgeable staff. The right POS technology empowers staff to engage with customers via product look ups, real time stock data, gift card transactions and click & collect. Intuitive and simple to customise, with on-screen prompts and workflows to enforce procedures and multiple payment options, great POS technology provides flexibility, accessibility and speed, freeing up staff to focus more on customer relationships and service. Futura’s retail customers use data collection functionality to offer special offers, newsletters and loyalty schemes with personalised promotions. These should work seamlessly whether a customer’s preference is online, instore or both. Futura will launch a new points-based loyalty system later this year and some users already provide email receipts, a further way to complete the in-store online cycle and strengthen the customer relationship after they have left the store. Knowing who your customer is no matter where they touch your business is the key. FUTURA RETAIL SOLUTIONS OFFER EPOS AND STOCK MANAGEMENT SOLUTIONS FOR LIFESTYLE RETAILERS WWW.FUTURA4RETAIL.CO.UK READ MORE ON FUTUREOFTECH.CO.UK Andy Mulcahy The Editor of IMRG on the top 5 ways to keep o top of e-commerce demands at Christmas P6 To infinity and beyond CEO JP Chauvet outlines how omnichannel is the future of retail P7 How technology will transform delivery Patrick Gallagher outlines the delivery challenges facing retailers and how to solve them IN THIS ISSUE Embracing digital: an opportunity for better jobs The parameters of UK retail are changing at an ever-increasing rate. At the centre of this structural shift lies a digital transformation that is impacting how we shop, the way businesses operate and the skillsets they require Please recycleFollow us @MediaplanetUK Project Manager: Henry Worth E-mail: Content and Production Manager: Henrietta Hunter Business Development Manager: Dominic McWilliam Digital Content Strategist: Chris Schwartz Social Media Coordinator: Jenny Hyndman Managing Director: Carl Soderblom Designer: Vratislav Pecka Mediaplanet contact information: Phone: +44 (0) 203 642 0737 E-mail: I n many cases, the pace that consumers are embracing new technologies is pushing the boundaries of retailers, landlords and lo- cal authorities – both to in- novate and cater for an in- creasingly sophisticated and informed buyer. During the last 10 years there has been a significant shift in shop- ping channels used by con- sumers. The ever-connected consumer has transparency of pricing, quality and ser- vice at their disposal at all times. They are increasingly searchingforanonlineshop- ping experience, with simi- lartouchpoints,inthephysi- cal high street environment. Fundamentally though, suc- cessful retailing will always be about understanding the customer and those who do it well are using technology and specifically data to drive developments in how they understandtheircustomers. “Successful retailing will always be about understanding the customer” The challenge lies in how retailers navigate the com- plexities presented by digi- tal disruption in a time of such profound change. Whilst new technologies provide an opportunity for retailerstoreinventtheirin- dustry and competitive modelforlastingadvantage, it raises the question of what skills are needed in an increasinglydigitallyleden- vironment. Significant change in the retail work- force is inevitable as the digital revolution reshapes the industry and the costs of labour versus technology becomemoredivergent.Six- ty per cent of retail jobs are athighriskofautomationin the next twentyyears,high- er than any other industry. Crucially however, the growth in digital and tech- nological developments will also make better jobs possi- ble. Jobs which are more productive, more rewarding and fit for the future. @MediaplanetUK COMMERCIAL FEATURE The connected customerBusinesses need to employ joined-up thinking — and consumer-driven tech — to make a customer’s journey truly connected, saysTony Bryant, Strategic Business Development Director of retail technology provider K3 Retail O m n i c h a n n e l . Multi-channel. Cross-channel. To the average man or woman in the high street or browsing online, these words don’t mean anything at all.To them it’s just ‘shopping’. Because whether they’re buyingvia tablet,mobile or in-store, they’re simply out to make a purchase. How they do it — or what ‘channel’ they use — is, to them, neither here nor there. “If you asked a customer coming out of a store: ‘How was your omnichannel experience?’ they’d look at you oddly,” says Tony Bryant, Strategic Business Development Director of retail technology provider, K3 Retail. “The industry has created a lot of confusion with these terms, so we need to simplify things. Retailers shouldn’t be thinking about ‘omnichannel’ or ‘mul- ti-channel’. They should be thinking about the customer’s journey,instead.” Customer journey For instance, says Tony, if you make a purchase with an online retailer in the morning, and then go into that retailer’s bricks and mortar store in the afternoon, would the staff there know about the productyou had bought hours earlierontheirwebsite?Andifthe following morning you phone the retailer’s customer service line, would they be aware of your pur- chase andyour later in-storevisit? If they are, that’s a truly connect- edcustomerjourney. The raison d’être of brands is to recruit and retain customers. But if a link in the retail chain is weak — causing an individual’s shop- ping experience to break down at any stage — customers will quickly look elsewhere for their goodsorservices.What’srequired, therefore, is consistency across all channels: reduced queues, easy ordering, a range of ways to buy and return goods and engaging post-purchasecontact. In order for this connected jour- ney to be effective, however, all systems of a retail operation need to work together perfectly. That’s the challenge for retailers — and wheretechnologycomesin.Using therighttechcangiveasignificant joinedupbusinessadvantage. Fundamental change “Essentially, wherever and when- ever the consumer engageswith a brand,theywanttohavethesame experience,” says Bryant. “For ex- ample, it’s annoying if a custom- er’s in-store experience is bad but their online experience is good,or vice versa. To meet customer de- mands, a retailer needs joined up thinking.They need to always put the customer first. To that end, a fundamental change within the industryisthatretailersarebegin- ning to employ techwhich is con- sumer-driven—notretaildriven.” Part of K3 Retail’s offer is to sup- port its global brands — which in- clude everyone from Charles Tyr- whitt and The White Company to Ryman, Hobbycraft and Ted Bak- er — with cutting edge Business Intelligence solutions, including data warehousing and reporting and analytics. In terms of tech, says Bryant, Cortana Analytics, Machine Learning and the Inter- net of Things (such as intelligent fitting rooms and interactive mir- rors)arethetoolsthatretailersare using to manage their stock and gain a deeper insight on how to modelcustomerjourneys. Intelligent insight But having customer data is one thing:applyingthatinsightintel- ligently is quite another. “For ex- ample, the ultimate experience would be for a customer to walk into a store with their mobile phone,” says Bryant. “The store recognises them because of the item they bought there lastweek. Thecustomersoptintothebrand via their phone,which tells them that there is an item they might want thatwill be coming in-store in two weeks’ time — and would they like to be one of the first peo- ple to buy it? And that’s happen- ing instantaneously.” Live, im- mediate information also gives retailers the ability to react ac- cordingly and make sure that productsareavailabletoconsum- ers.“Retailersneedtounderstand data about ‘customer’, ‘transac- tion’ and ‘product’ to have a holis- tic view of a total customer jour- ney,” says Bryant. It’s important to map technol- ogies, such as analytics and ma- chine learning, across a business —fromthefrontend(in-store,on- line, mobile) to the head office, into finance operations and the supply chain. “That comes back to the importance of joined up thinking,” says Bryant. “But a re- tailer always has to startwith the customer. That has to be their fundamental principle. If tech canhelpthemofferbetterservice and better standards, then their brand will give greater customer satisfaction — and receive greater customer advocacy in return.” Tony Bryant Strategic Business Development Director of retail technology provider, k3retail “Essentially, wherever and whenever the consumer engages with a brand, they want to have the same experience” By Tony Greenway
  3. 3. MEDIAPLANET 54 FUTUREOFTECH.CO.UK AN INDEPENDENT SUPPLEMENT BY MEDIAPLANETAN INDEPENDENT SUPPLEMENT BY MEDIAPLANET T hankstoanevolvingdigital landscape, the customer journey completely trans- forms, with a wide array of possible touchpoints .This extends to the in-store ex- perience. The number of contactless pay- ments rose to 218 million in May, account- ing for 18 per cent of card payments – up from 7 per cent ayear ago,according toThe UK Cards Association. This acceptance of contactless as a method of payment has propelled the payments industry to the cutting edge of technology. In just a few years, in-store payments have gone from cash and cheques, to wearables such as smart watches. Now we’re starting to see contactless technology extend to fashion such as jackets and suits. Online options Yet the in-store retail experience usually starts before the customer physically walks intotheshop.Theonlineworldhasbecome the new catalogue, and it’s easier to browse than ever before. Brand websites, apps, price-comparison sites and social media channels can all be scrutinised to help con- sumers make a decision on what they want tobuy,andwheretheywanttobuyfrom. This was highlighted last month when the Competition and Markets Authority announced ‘tech-based reforms’ to the UK retail banking sector. It emphasised the Staying ahead of the trend. Online activity is beginning to dictate the retail landscape. PHOTO: SAGE PAY needforrobustphone-basedappsthat show customers which banks may of- fer the best account, making choice simplerandultimatelyidentifyingthe best deal. It’s clear that online activity is be- ginning to dictate the retail land- scape. In May this year, online spending accounted for 23 per cent of total card spending, with the number of e-commerce payments accounting for 12 per cent of the to- tal number of card payments, says The UK Cards Association. However, there’s still a huge part for physical shops to play. Last year, retailers took £114bn, with IMRG estimating that 73 per cent of thatwas in stores. In-store shopping brings with it the opportunity to up-sell, so the challenge for some retailers is to transfer consumers from online to bricks and mortar. Ensuring an expe- rience that caters to how people want to make purchases is key. The days of ‘cash only’ signs in shop windows will soon be behind us. Consumers crave consistency Consumers want to feel empowered, and the assertion that brands need to connect with them on their preferred technology platform doesn’t only ap- ply to social media. Theproliferationofpaymentoptions creates the need for consistency. Busi- nessesshouldstopthinkingintermsof channelsandstartthinkingintermsof experiences. Customers don’t think twiceaboutthetechnologytheyuseun- less it doesn’t work as it should. If con- tactlessisavailableinashop,aqueueof people should be able to use whichever contactless method they choose, with- out slowing the transaction down. Get thisright,andretailerswillcreatelong- term loyalty – the Holy Grail in this worldofincreasingchoice. Seamus Smith CEO, Sage Pay Read more on Fivethingsthat keepcustomers comingback 1 Choice The majority (90 per cent) of consumers claimit’simportantforbusinessestooffercustom- ers a diverse range of payment methods and 58 per centclaimtheywouldbemorelikelytoshopsome- wherethatofferedthemmultiplewaystopay(Sage PaymentsLandscapeReport2016). 2 Engagement It’s up to businesses to create platforms that enable truly personalised engagement. Nurture a communityofadvocatesthatpromotesyourbrand. 3 Instant access Technology means that consumers expect businesses to be available at all times.A robust on- line presence means that customers have access whenevertheywant,nomatterwheretheyare. 4 Feeling understood Understanding the customer base on a gran- ular level allows the business to tailor content and interactions, and customers will feel like your brandunderstandstheirneeds. 5 Innovative experiences Does your business provide a unique cus- tomer experience? Create a journey they’ll want to talkabout. TIPS COMMERCIAL FEATURE When it comes to retail shopping, consumers are increasingly expecting an experience tailored to their preferences Theretail payments revolution
  4. 4. 6 FUTUREOFTECH.CO.UK AN INDEPENDENT SUPPLEMENT BY MEDIAPLANET MEDIAPLANETAN INDEPENDENT SUPPLEMENT BY MEDIAPLANET NEWS High street store River Island is responding to the challenges of omnichannel with investment, changing its methodologies — and treating technology like fashion, says CIO Doug Gardner. Omnichannel has changed retail dramatically and irre- vocably in the last couple of years, admits Doug Gardner, CIO of high street fashion sto- re, River Island. “Customers now want to be able to access information about our stock through any of our touch- points,” he says. “And every brandhastorecognisetoday’s increased focus on customer personalisation.” But Gardner cautions that responding to the challenge of omnichannel requires mo- re than creating a website or app. Instead, it’s about deve- loping a single business mind- set. “What’s needed is core in- vestment, plus people and process change that funda- mentally enhances ability to reactfastinarapidlychanging digital world,” he says. “Ben Lewis,our CEO,summed it up well when he said that, as an organisation, we have to tre- at tech like fashion.” This me- ans listening to what custo- mers want and then quickly designing and producing the tech to enable it. “It’s an inte- resting parallel, because some people equate the street cred of a fashion brand to the tech ituses,”saysGardner. Empowering In responding to omnichan- nel, River Island has had to significantly change its ex- isting systems. It has moved away from on-premise so- lutions, shifting much of its technology to the cloud, and it’s busy building new mid- dleware and microservices. It has installed better net- works and improved wi-fi in its stores, and handhelds are coming to the fore. “We’re putting handheld android de- vicesinallofourstoreswhich digitally empower our staff,” says Gardner. “These include a camera, our apps and social media and they break down barriers with in-store cus- tomers, allowing our staff to engage with them in a much deeper way.” The devices also include back office functions so that an entire store can be run from the shop floor. Last year, River Island opened a creative hub at Shoreditch. “We want to be the leading digital play- er on the high street, and to do that you have to invest,” notes Gardner. “Shoreditch is an incredibly light, crea- tive and beautiful space. It’s also been designed for collab- orativeworking.Anyonewho works there or visits gets a flavour of what modern digital means.” Enhancing Gardner has this piece of ad- vice for smaller retailers who might be considering their omnichannel approach. “Lookatconsistency,”hesays. “It’s great to buy a dozen bits of tech that look cool — but if they don’t create a singleview of your customer, inventory and product, you are going to struggle as you grow to con- nect all of those things.” And he denies that — as so- me pundits predicted five years ago — we are seeing the death of the high street. “Ac- tually, that trend is reversing. That’s because people, funda- mentally, still like to touch things and socialise. Our sto- res set the tone of our brand. When someone walks in and sees how beautiful they look, it’s a great experience.The di- gital world is a way of enhan- cing that experience and ta- kingthepainpointsoutofthe shopping journey.” TIPS Andy Mulcahy Editor, IMRG Read more on 5waysforyourbrand tokeepontopof e-commercedemands thisChristmas Whytechinvestments aretheheightoffashion COMMERCIAL FEATURE Why retail tech is travelling at Lightspeed Omnichannel is the future of retail, says JP Chauvet, President of technology company, Lightspeed. Smaller independent businesses must embrace it — not ignore it — in order to compete with bigger brands A few years ago, many pundits were predicting the end of the high street. Bricks and mortar stores had had their day, they said. Online was the new consumer reality. “When ecommerce began gai- ning traction, in-store retailers started to get worried,” remem- bers JP Chauvet, President of technology company, Lights- peed. “Their concern was that shoppers would use their stores to educate themselves about the products on display, but then go online to find those same pro- ductselsewhereatalowerprice.” This was called ‘showroo- ming.’ In North America some retailers even had signs up in their shops that read ‘we do not accept showrooming’ and ‘no digital devices allowed in this store’.” But omnichannel — the seamless integration of online and in-store sales channels — has changed all of that. It turns out that consumers are omni- channel by nature. They love to shop online.They also love to go into a store. In fact, the real trend is for ‘webrooming’: where shoppers go online to find out about pro- ducts, but then choose to buy them in a shop. So the high street is not over. As Chauvet points out, the ‘brand narrative’ is always much stronger in a physical environment than it is online, which is why increasing numbers of pure online players — such as Amazon for ins- tance — are opening bricks and mortar stores.” Driving footfall in-store “Before they visit a physical sto- re, the majority of buyers go on- line to find out who holds the in- ventory,” says Chauvet. “In the past,shopperswouldwalkupand downthehighstreet,beattracted by a store front, go in and spend. Now the new store front is on- line. What’s happening is that a brand’sonlinepresenceisdriving footfall to its physical stores.” Lightspeed provides cloud-ba- sed technology that allows SMEs to launch an online store and then sync it with their in-sto- re point of sale system, centrali- zing operations, products, inven- tory and customer data. When the company launched in 2005, its mission was ’to save cities’. That sounds dramatic, admits Chauvet; but what it really me- antwas ensuring diversity on the high street by making sure the smaller playersweren’t put out of business by more established glo- bal chains.The troublewas,small and medium independents often didn’t have the money, time or bandwidth to fight back. Understandingomnichannel “So we believed the way forward was to bring low-cost technolo- gy to small and medium sized in- dependent retailers to help them compete against the big brands,” says Chauvet. “The fact is that retailers don’t have to install big systems anymore.They can store alotofbusinesslogicinthecloud. So our goal has been to bring big box technology to SMEs that’sve- ry easy to use. What’s certain — andamajortrendinthemarket— is that retailers are getting rid of their black plastic cash registers and replacing them with much simpler, user-friendly tools.” For a monthly fee, customers can ac- cess Lightspeed’s software and apps either from mobile devices or computer systems. The com- pany now has 38,000 businesses using its productsworldwide. A lot of these are new brands which have understood om- nichannel very well, says Chau- vet. “They have no legacy or his- tory and tend to gowith tools like ours. That generation of retailers is booming.” Brands with a he- ritage who stubbornly refu- se to embrace omnichannel, meanwhile, are quickly finding out that it’s a case of adapt or die. Perception versus reality So what would Chauvet’s advice betothoseretailerslookingtode- velop an omnichannel strategy? “My advice would be to look at the ’perception’ of omnichannel versus the ’reality’,” he says. “The perception is that omnichannel is complicated and expensive. In reality there are tools that are simple to use and low-cost. “Another perception is: ’It isn’t worth being online.’ Whereas the reality is that being online doesn’t mean selling online — it’s about using your online presence to bring consumers to your store and then re-engage with them easily afterwards. Another per- ception is: ’It’s going to take me years to set up.’ The reality is it’s going to take a fewweeks.’” But Chauvet’s number one re- commendation to retailers is don’t stick your head in the sand and think omnichannel is going to go away. “It isn’t going to go away,” he says. “Times are chan- ging. And that’s not because of technologyvendors like us.It’s be- causetheconsumerisevolving.” JP Chauvet President, Lightspeed Doug Gardner CIO, River Island By Tony Greenway By Tony Greenway 1 Retail at Christmas has become massively about Black Friday,but lastyear it evolved from being a day into a period –with no set start and end.Our research shows retailers on average plan to run campaigns lasting around 7 days thisyear –which helps to ease the pres- sure on operations. 2 Onceyou have established a timeframe foryour campaign thatyou believewill work foryour customers,the next challenge is stimulating interest – the competition for cus- tomer spend during this period is intense,so build a strategy to helpyou stand out and se- cureyour share. 3 It may seem a remarkably obvious point, but if any part ofyour site cannot cope with the additional demandyouwon’t be able to take orders.Make sure to simulate high traf- fic to identify potentialweaknesses in advance – including any third-party or external services that may impactyour performance. 4 Ifyou can take orders,canyou fulfil them? Ensure that every department involved – including carriers used – knowwhat type and size of productswill be discounted andwhen, as these are those most likely to sell in highvol- umes.Also be realistic about delivery lead- times – shoppers often prefer certainty to speed. 5 Consider post-event marketing cam- paigns – ifyou manage to attract new cus- tomers by using discounting,they may have been impulse purchases; now they exist in your database,think about howyou can con- vert them into return customerswhovalue whatyou do and develop loyalty toyour brand. PHOTO: THINKSTOCK
  5. 5. COMMERCIAL FEATURE How technology will transform retail delivery What are the delivery challenges that retailers are facing? Ten,evenfiveyearsago,custom- ers were happy to be told when their deliveries were going to arrive.Takingadayoffworktowait inforadeliverywascommonplace. However today, delivery on the retailer’s, or even the carrier’s termsisnolongeracceptable. Today’s generation of Millen- nial shoppers are without a doubt the most demanding yet.They are constantly connected, tech savvy andareusedtohavinginformation attheirfingertips.Forthis‘Iwantit now’ generation,deliveries should be personalised, convenient and transparent,regardless ofwhether a purchase is online or offline.And if it isn’t?Well today’s shoppers are more than happy to vocalise this online, or simply move to another brand that can offer a better cus- tomerexperience. Put simply - retailers’ main challenge is to offer the ultimate customer experience, from first browse, to the final product inhand. How do you think technology will evolve to solve these challenges? Retailers need to ensure that they can bridge the gap between online and offline channels to improve that all important customer experience. So far, we’ve seen retailers invest in technology to manage their stock more efficiently and allow for visi- bility of stock at a store level. This change will increase their flexibil- ityandalsoallowforfastandaccu- rate fulfilment. By working in this way, retailers can effectively use their stores as mini hubs for local fulfilmentandofferbothspeedand convenience that is comparable to retailgiantslikeAmazon. Developments in retail technology have also allowed car- riers to create innovative new soft- ware. Services like On the dot rely on complex algorithms that allow carriers to manage their fleet effi- cientlyanddisplaycapacityincon- venient1-hourtimeslotsofthecus- tomers’ choice. When integrated into a retailer’s EPOS platform, website or app, retailers can offer their customers deliver- ies on their terms, without the customer ever leaving their retail environment. In a recent study*,91 per cent of millennial shoppers said that they now expect deliveries to be more transparent. On the dot offers both GPS tracking and email/SMS notifications to keep customers informed about the whereabouts of their deliveries. This extra ser- vice is just one of the ways that retailers can increase customer experience throughout the ecom- mercejourney. So, what makes a good delivery partner? A good delivery partner firstly has to be reliable.Many customers have a positive customer experi- ence throughout the purchasing journey, but are then let down when their parcels do not arrive at a time that’s convenient, or in somecasesatall.Theimpactthata poor delivery experience can have is too significant to be ignored – in fact 21 per cent of UK* shoppers have posted negative feedback on social media when their deliveries havegonewrong. Secondly,flexibilityandscalabil- ityarecrucialintoday’sretailenvi- ronment.We’ve seen both retailers and carriers pushed to absolute capacity with heightened cus- tomer expectations and increased promises from retailers during peak.Carriersneedtoofferflexibil- itywith their fleet at peak times to ensure that promises to customers arenotbroken. Lastly, a good delivery partner is one who supports the retailer to provide not what’s best for them, but what’s best for their customer. That means a joint investment in technology,paired with a network of couriers to provide a consistent doorstep experience and allow the customer to have what they want, whentheywantit. What are your predictions for the next year? Retailers are already making steps to move towards a delivery- first model and that is set to con- tinue in the coming years.Within the next year, convenience and speedwill be the two core qualities that will shape a positive delivery experience.Same day deliverywill be the industry norm, with demand shaped by retailers like AmazonandArgoswhoarealready leadingtheway. Although Click and Collect does haveitsplaceinthedeliveryspace, movingforwarditwillnotbeadif- ferentiator, but just another ship- ping offer that will be replaced by more innovative delivery services that can offer timeslot, hyperlocal orimmediatedeliveries. One thing that is certain for the futureofretailisthatneitheromni- channel, nor stellar customer experience are optional. Success will be determined by those retail- erswhoinvestintechnologytocre- ateapersonalised,transparentand seamless delivery experience both instore and online, integrated across devices and with convenienceatheart. Patrick Gallagher CEO, On the dot “Retailers’ main delivery challenge is to offer the ultimate customer experience” *Temando(2016) On the dot is a revolutionary service that offers convenient 1-hour delivery windows of the customers choice. Its RESTful APIs can be easily integrated into a retailer’s own envi- ronment, or it can be accessed with no inte- grationviaawebportal.Formoreinformation,