Half of UK retailers ‘lacking a digital strategy’
Written by Chris Lemmon
Only half of UK retailers have a digital strategy in place, despite there being a clear consumer appetite for the latest technologies, new research from Fujitsu has found.
Seven in 10 of the 2,000 British consumers surveyed said that retail has already been dramatically transformed by technology. Almost half (46 per cent) believed that augmented reality (AR) could positively impact retail, while 22 per cent thought the same of virtual reality. Some 45 per cent of shoppers felt that technology could improve the convenience and ease at which they can access retail products and services.
However, despite the demand, 73 per cent of the retailers that Fujitsu also interviewed for its report had no plans to implement VR solutions, while 72 per cent had no intention of deploying artificial intelligence (AI) solutions over the next 12 months.
A quarter of the retailers surveyed noted that they were disappointed with their return on investment in technology and said it made it harder to connect with customers in person.
Those who were positive about the changes that technology had brought cited increased productivity (35 per cent), improved operational efficiency (37 per cent) and business growth (44 per cent) as the key benefits.
Rupal Karia, managing director of commercial at Fujitsu UK and Ireland, said: “Consumers have a clear appetite for technology and innovation and are ready and wanting more. When it comes to retail, consumers already say that they would be happy to be served by a robot in a supermarket or to have an automated machine to deliver their goods.
“There’s a clear disconnect between how retailers view themselves in this wave of technological change we undergoing right now,” he continued. “Instead of focusing on how technology can improve their offering and further loyalty amongst their customers, many are focused on the increased competition and the disruption to their sector.
“Part of retailers’ reluctance to invest in technology could be down to feeling disappointed by their return on investment, which is understandable. However, UK retailers cannot bury their heads in the sand when it comes to what is going to fundamentally change their business – technology.”