After the punctuation of Christmas and New Year, the business of Business is back in full swing. Retailers are announcing results and discussing plans for how technology will drive competitive advantage this year.
At Mastek, we’re seeing clients pushing ahead with a deeper understanding of how true Business Intelligence (BI) can be harnessed. They are using BI to gain customer insight, as they strive to move ever closer to purchasers. Promotion Personalisation continues to demonstrate a major increase in focus, as it is perceived to create brand loyalty on a scale unachievable without the capability to mine valuable sales data. But the key way many retailers are approaching the necessary two-way customer interaction is demonstrated by February’s first trend:
The Rise and Rise of the App
As reported by InternetRetailing, mobile apps are becoming the mainstream choice for shoppers. Between 21% and 50% of all web sales now originate through the use of a retailer-specific app and, as mentioned last month, with global figures set to grow and grow, a mobile-first strategy remains a key focus.
However, the reality in the UK is that just 23% of retailers currently have a transactional app. This figure includes a number of Mastek’s clients. Yet, even those for whom a mobile app is already active are asking us to help them explore ways of enhancing and improving existing functionality. What we’re witnessing and indeed, helping develop, is a melding of transactional retail tech purchasing capability with methods of garnering insight into customer buying patterns, demographics and preferences – and with it an increase in brand loyalty.
Digitally-Equipped Sales Staff
The physical store remains the foundation of retailing. However, omni-channel demands the provision of specialised dashboards providing customer purchasing history, store operational statistics and internal peer store performance information. All this is creating a far more harmonised customer experience. Credible, contemporary knowledge of a customer, his or her purchasing history and/or intentions together with an up-to-date picture of inventory availability combine to create retail trust and increased sales.
Interestingly, Mastek is engaged with a number of Tier 1 retailers who are implementing digital, mobile solutions on devices such as tablets and mobiles. They are aimed at enabling customer-facing staff to break down the boundaries between online and physical (bricks and mortar) store experiences.
As reported last year in the Digital High Street Advisory Report, ‘one in four businesses lack sufficient online skills to interact with customers or process orders online. Over £150bn in retail sales are influenced by digital. Retailers are potentially losing out on £12bn in sales every year due to not being suitably digitally equipped.’
This is a trend all retailers must take seriously…
The ‘Post-Internet’ Era
An emerging, recurring theme this month has been the Phoenix-like rebirth of retailers, which we thought had missed the digital/omni-channel messages. Homewares provider Dunelm reported a resurgence in sales with double-digit growth, which CEO John Browett attributes to a combined ‘evolving store and online format’.
‘Post-Internet’ is an interesting term, suggesting that digital integration is now wholly mainstream – again, a theme with which we fully engage at Mastek. Digitisation of any business is no longer an option – it is an absolute essential.
For more on how you can embrace these trends…
Get in touch with me at email@example.com At Mastek, we’re enabling retailers to address challenges and capitalise on opportunities, not just from a technical viewpoint, but more importantly, from a business perspective. Our dedicated Retail team focus on improved corporate financial performance and growth.