UK Retailers Must Invest in More Digital Technologies

The UK's biggest retailers are under-investing in the digital technologies.

According to a recent survey, 66% of UK high street retailers are not investing enough in technology, despite nearly 90% of retailers thinking digital and multi-channel is a significant factor to long term growth.

The survey was conducted by eBay and Conlumino and stated that the average spend in technologies to digitise stores, including virtual mirrors and facial recognition, is less than 4% of annual turnover.

According to the survey, the main barriers of investment are justifying return, integrating with existing IT systems and keeping within technology budgets. 85% of retailers have stated they do not know which technologies to invest in.

40% of shoppers would like to see virtual fitting rooms and virtual mirrors to try clothing on, 28% would like to see 3D printers, 26% would like to incorporate wearble devices like smartwatches and 22% would like to see the use of facial recognition or personalised services and payments.

Only 1% of retailers have integrated wearable technologies while only 6% have plans to do so in the future. 9% are currently using virtual fitting rooms, with 15% planning to integrate in the future.

Retailers such as Asda are starting to use 3D printing and Lego are making use of augmented reality.

eBay have also recently identified the 'super shoppers' which is the 18% of shoppers who account for 70% of the total UK retail sales - equating to over £200bn in 2013.

The online retail giants stated that the retailers who make the most of digital are more likely to reach this demographic.

Valerie Nygaard, senior director of user experience at eBay said: "Investment in technology has to fight for its place in a challenging retail environment and it is more important than ever for retailers to understand what shoppers really want so they can separate the future from fad. Traditional ROI and sales metrics are difficult to apply to these emerging technologies, but taking a leap of faith to give customers a better experience can drive revenue and growth."

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