Running a retail business on the high street has always been tough, but in the current climate it is particularly challenging.
It is not only tough on the high street – Red Flag Alert data for Q3 2019 found that significant financial distress is found throughout the economy with 20 out of 22 industries experiencing an increase, although retail is badly hit – there are 31,000 retailers in significant distress, an increase of 28% since Q3 2016.
The landscape for retail has seen a lot of change over recent decades. The rise of the internet and online shopping has long been supposed to herald the end of the high street – but retailers are fighting back.
Retail businesses are increasingly seeing opportunities provided by technology; in this article, we’re going to take a look at five retail technologies that are helping retailers build competitive advantage.
OneMarket is based in both London and San Francisco with Joe Polverari heading up the firm as CEO. Founded in 2018 as a spin-off from Westfield, OneMarket swiftly acquired Yocuda, which had been a leading player in the electronic receipt market.
OneMarket has a range of technology solutions tailor-made for retailers. One of their engagement solutions is ‘Live Receipt’ where the retailer can deliver an interactive digital receipt to the customer’s preferred channel which could be email, SMS, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp etc.
Founded in 2014 and based in central London, StorIQ has grown rapidly and is now deployed in 55 countries and 19 languages. The leadership team consists of founder Peter Wake who has been building SaaS software from the very beginning, Managing Director Amy Bastow who has worked in senior roles for multichannel retailers and has a track record of building teams to deliver growth, and on the front line as Head of Customer Success is Pippa Parker who uses her deep understanding of data to help customers use retail operations metrics to drive like-for-like and margin growth.
StorIQ brings together store communications, visual merchandising compliance, task management and store visits in one app.
Their ultimate goal is to help customers drive sales by improving in-store execution. In reality this means that the retailer can save time, keep a uniform approach across multiple stores (excellent for brand building), and support those stores in most need of assistance.
Qudini is based in London’s Shoreditch and its solutions are all focused on improving the retailer’s customer experience, which ranges from in-store click and collect through to enabling customers to call for staff help from anywhere in store.
Its virtual queue management system takes a lot of wasted time out of the equation for customers in-store by providing them with updates about their wait time and service expectations through personalised SMS updates. The wait time is produced by the QMS platform which uses real time and historic data providing live information throughout their in-store experience.
This allows the retailer to retain footfall and increase conversions, increase staff efficiency and serve more customers, increase customer purchasing and spend, as well as increasing customer satisfaction and loyalty.
#4 Proximity Insight
Headed by Cathy McCabe, Proximity Insight has offices in London, Melbourne and New York.
The mantra at Proximity Insight is that happy sales associates will mean happy customers. All offices put cutting-edge capabilities in the hands of their staff to drive online and physical traffic.
Proximity call it the ‘Clienteling Hub’ where their in-store teams can interact with customers and review their past interactions from every channel. This means detailed data from a complete history of sales, communication, purchase history and even wish-lists and abandoned baskets.
The hub extends into the ‘Commerce Hub’ which brings together all of the content and copy into the sales associate’s hands integrated with stock management. They even have a ‘Brand Hub’ where staff can see what’s happening across the brand in real time with insights into new products, shop operations and brand messages.
Optoma have headquarters across the globe in Europe, the USA and Asia Pacific. Their European HQ is in Hemel Hempstead with Thierry Millet as EMEA Managing Director.
Projection technology is at the heart of the customer’s experience with Optoma, enabling retailers to incorporate engaging in-store displays. Gone are the days of black and white overhead projectors – instead these have given way to rich, dynamic images capable of being projected onto objects or uneven surfaces for ultimate impact.
Innovative floor projections are just as effective for attracting customers to specific brands in store and offering a more immersive, entertaining and genuinely brighter retail experience.
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With all these retail-tech tools at their disposal, there is an opportunity for the retail sector to make every customer’s experience unique and enjoyable from the moment they enter into a store. These unique experiences simply can’t be beaten online – bricks and mortar retailers need to embrace this advantage, and technology is a key weapon in the fight.
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