Following a report from the British Retail Consortium which said that UK shop prices are rising at their fastest pace for nearly six years, industry commentators are examining how technology can be used as a strategic investment for retailers to thrive in the mid and long-term.
Fujitsu UK director of retail and hospitality Adrian West commented: “The BRC’s latest report, showing that prices in British shops rose by the most in nearly six years last month, highlights the dilemmas that retailers are facing in a tough environment. Despite fragile consumer confidence and a difficult holiday period, many have found that they have little choice but to raise prices. While predictions that the increase in the cost of food will ease off in 2019 should help settle some nerves, retailers need to find sustainable ways to reconcile shaky consumer sentiment with other external pressures if they are to succeed in a dynamic market.”
He added: “In order to thrive in the mid and long-term environment, retailers must ensure they are making strategic investments for the future, alongside short-term tactical ones. One of the most important strategic investments they can make is in technology. These investments can now help retailers operate more efficiently internally with, for example, Internet of Things driven supply chains that are more reactive to changing circumstances. Technology also helps create a customer experience that reacts and anticipates a change in how people shop and makes shopping more exciting and engaging. A good example of this is creating an immersive experience, using AR and VR across the shop floor.
“Retailers need to envision a long-term strategy to elevate them above the back-and-forth of monthly indexes, to put themselves in a position of compounding competitive advantage month by month rather than constantly creating new sets of tactical campaigns. This way they will be placed in a position to thrive in the future.”