For an industry battling strong headwinds of change and one facing challenging overheads, it’s a critical question. The retail workforce, and the look and feel of physical retail space in the UK is rapidly changing, as traditional shopping locations merge into a more diluted combination of retail, leisure and hospitality. And these new spaces come with a digital twist. The advent of e-commerce – alongside various other developments in consumer behavior – has had a profound effect on what is expected of a 21st-century shop or retail business. One key influence of ecommerce on traditional retail is the consumer’s expectation of the three ‘I’s – immediacy, inspiration and intimacy wherever they shop. In many cases, in-store technology has aimed to help retailers and their staff bridge the digital-physical gap freeing them to deliver a better customer experience, but without fully achieving that goal. The technology retailers use now isn’t working The first wave of staff-empowering technology has had the wrong impact.
– iPads are being hidden away in drawers because they were getting in the way of the transaction
– Rather than being used, the tablet is left all day charging on the shelf
– One retailer continuously reported theft of the devices, because they simply could not account for all of them at the end of the day
– Technology put in to secure the devices was often considered either too expensive or there was no space to locate it in boutique stores.