Written by Scott Thompson
To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Retail Systems Awards, we're giving you the chance to vote for your landmark retail technology moment from the last 10 years
Take your pick from the following and cast your vote at: https://www.retail-systems.com/awards. The defining moment that receives the most nods will be announced at the 2015 Retail Systems Awards, which will take place on Thursday, 15 October at the London Marriott Hotel, Grosvenor Square.
2005: Twitter launches
Created and launched by Jack Dorsey, Evan Williams, Biz Stone and Noah Glass, Twitter rapidly gained worldwide popularity and caught the attention of retailers. As of December 2014, it had over 500 million users, of which more than 284 million were active users. The recent admission by its chief executive Dick Costolo that the company “sucks” when it comes to dealing with abuse and trolling on the service, hardly inspired confidence. In a leaked memo to staff, he stated, “We’ve sucked at it for years. It’s no secret that the rest of the world talks about it every day. We lose core user after core user by not addressing simple trolling issues that they face every day.” His comments followed a December blog post in which Twitter admitted that it “was nowhere near being done making changes in this area. In the coming months, you can expect to see additional user controls, further improvements to reporting and new enforcement procedures for abusive accounts. We’ll continue to work hard on these changes in order to improve the experience of people who encounter abuse on Twitter.” Nonetheless, the social network's impact upon the retail sector cannot be underestimated.
2007: Apple unveils the iPhone
The launch of the iPhone was followed by the app store and then the iPad and those three innovations sparked seismic behavioural shifts across various industries. Next up, Apple Pay launches in Europe, exactly when we don't yet know but probably this year.
2007: TJX data breach
Dark days for TJX Companies as it revealed that 45.6 million credit and debit card numbers were stolen from one of its systems over a period of more than 18 months.
2008: Alibaba introduces Tmall.com
Making its debut in 2008, Tmall has gone on to become China's largest B2C shopping site. Earlier this year, Amazon announced the soft launch of a virtual storefront on Tmall. Nuff said.
2008: RIP Woolworths
An iconic High Street name took its last gasp when Woolies went into administration with debts of £385 million and administrator Deloitte was unable to find a buyer. Over 800 stores closed, resulting in 27,000 job losses. The name lives on. Shop Direct Group would subsequently purchase the Woolworths name and relaunch it as an e-tailer. But it's not the same. Not really. Sob.
2012: Facebook passes monthly active users mark of 1bn
In the third quarter of 2012, the number of active Facebook users surpassed one billion. As of the third quarter of 2014, it had 1.35 billion monthly active users. Love it or hate it, you can't deny the social network's impact on retail, and its standing as an increasingly important sales channel has been further boosted following the introduction of a ‘buy it now’ button.
2013: Rise of the discounters rocks Sainsbury's, Tesco et al
The “big four” are currently in the process of cutting prices in an effort to stem the rate of shopper defections to Aldi and Lidl. Quite a turnaround from a few years back when the leader of the pack, Tesco, was riding high and could do no wrong. The rise and rise of the discounters has reshaped the UK grocery sector. Things will never be the same again.
2014: Annual UK online spending exceeds £100 bn for first time
£104 billion was splashed out online in 2014, the first time annual spending exceeded the £100 billion barrier in the UK, according to the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index. Adgild Hop, principal, head of retail consulting, Capgemini, commented: “2014 has been an important milestone for the online retail sector, with the £100 billion mark being exceeded for the first time. When we consider that almost £1 in every £4 is now spent online, and that a large proportion of the other £3 is influenced by some form of digital interaction, it becomes very clear that retailers need to continue to embrace the opportunity that e-retail poses."
2015: Mobile on the rise
Forty per cent of UK online retail sales in Q4 2014/15 were completed through tablets and smartphones, according to IMRG and Capgemini research. This was up from 37 per cent in the previous quarter, and represented the steepest quarterly rise in the rate of mobile retail penetration since Q4 2013/14 (32 per cent).
2015: Amazon and Google launch first physical retail stores
The first ever Google shop launched during March, within Currys PC World on London's Tottenham Court Road. This offers customers the chance to sample its range of Android phones and tablets, Chromebook laptops and Chromecasts and learn about how they work together. Additionally, visitors have the chance to play with the company's software tools and apps with installations including a surround screen installation called “Portal”, where users can “fly” through any part of the planet through Google Earth; A Doodle Wall where budding graffiti artists can use digital spray cans to paint their own take on Google’s iconic logo, which they can then share on social media; and a Chromecast Pod where customers can enjoy Google Play Movies, YouTube and more, all cast through a Chromecast dongle.
Google’s James Elias said: “The pace of innovation of the devices we all use is incredible, yet the way we buy them has remained the same for years. With the Google shop, we want to offer people a place where they can play, experiment and learn about all of what Google has to offer; from an incredible range of devices to a totally-connected, seamless online life. We think it’s a genuinely unique try-before-you-buy experience.”
Amazon, meanwhile, opened its first physical store during February, not in downtown Manhattan as many had predicted but in the somewhat less cool and sophisticated campus of Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. The e-tailer described it as "its first-ever staffed customer order pickup and drop-off location. Purdue students now have a new convenient option for receiving textbooks and other college essentials, all with the same great prices they find every day on Amazon, as well as a hassle-free way to return textbook rentals and other orders."
Cast your vote at: https://www.retail-systems.com/awards