Even before the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, retail was facing some tough challenges. Creative use of technology was already beginning to solve them.

But with the announcement that non-essential retail had to close during lockdowns, the pressure was on, and technology became central to continuing operations, even to survival. Businesses which had previously focused on digital investment thrived, while those relying on footfall at bricks-and-mortar stores found the pivot more problematic.

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Key Benefits:

Reimagining the retail ecosystem

It was only a short time ago we were discussing the importance of experiential retail for attracting higher footfall and customer engagement in bricks-and-mortar stores, only to have to take an entirely different approach to driving sales during the pandemic. But if there’s one thing that we’ve learnt during the pandemic, it’s that shoppers can’t wait to get back to physical stores. Experiential retail will be a big part of the future, and technology will be at the heart of that personalised, wow-factor shopping experience. Adaptive retailers will meet consumer expectations - while blending physical and digital retail spaces for an agile, always-on solution that enables better resilience in any market conditions - through the power of tech.

Key Benefits:

Elevating customer experiences with technology

Tech has revolutionised online shopping, with a wealth of consumer-orientated innovations which facilitate easy, immediate, 24/7 retail. Products can be viewed in 360-degree detail, bots can answer questions at any time, and ‘find my size’ calculators help customers choose their preferred fit. Augmented reality (AR) offers immediate ‘try-on’ possibilities, while furnishings can be viewed in situ (virtually) using the same principle. With online shopping elevated in this way, the in-store experience needs to step up, too. There’s huge scope for improving customer retention, brand loyalty, and up- or cross-selling opportunities through an immersive in-person shopping experience. Showpiece front-of-house LED walls, sensor-driven digital customer service, lift-and-learn stations, and auto-starting content (perhaps driven by age and gender detection technology) – and more – can drive greater footfall, brand engagement and sales.

Key Benefits:

Dynamic, integrated digital supply networks

It’s not just sales processes that are being significantly digitally disrupted, either. Across the supply chain, cutting-edge technologies are transforming how products are taken to market. It’s a fundamental shift. From data-led design enhancements to inventory-driven dynamic pricing, and from automated logistics to POS-driven auto-replenishment, forward-thinking companies are finding advanced solutions to leaner, more efficient retail operations. Technology really has ripped up the rule book, and revolutionised the sector in a whole variety of ways. Gone is the old linear model of develop, plan, source, make, deliver and support, and in its place is a more dynamic, integrated digital supply network, which is more agile and intelligent – for increased revenue, improved margins, and greater asset efficiency.

Key Benefits:

Data-driven decision-making

With the unprecedented visibility and access to data provided by a digitally driven supply chain, retailers can make better decisions based on facts and figures. With this sort of quantifiable deeper understanding of the customer journey, strategies can be developed which meet customer expectations, for better sales figures and fewer returns, as well as better efficiency in terms of supply chain, workforce, and logistics. Retail is getting smarter and leaner. The next generation of supply chain tech is enabling companies to future-proof their businesses, for improved efficiency and productivity, better workforce and customer satisfaction, a more sustainable way of bringing goods to market, and the flexibility to match their offering to customer demand – no matter what the market conditions.

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