Retail and Technology: Staying Ahead
The Retail industry has experienced a challenging time with sales falling due to lower consumer demand – with high street stores hit particularly hard. As retail transactions continue to move online, eCommerce experience and online brand presence are crucial to staying ahead of the curve and beating the competition.
Consumers are tightening their belts following the Brexit vote, while inflation rises and stagnating wages eat into disposable income, putting a dampener on consumption. In response many retailers are closing their under-performing stores, focusing attention on more profitable sites as well as concentrating on digital channels.
Retailers are investing significantly to improve the in-store experience for customers. There has been a notable increase in demand for contractors with customer experience expertise. As the high street struggles and spending increasingly moves online we have noticed retailers increasing investment in their eCommerce and Omnichannel propositions, with the onus on creating a seamless shopping experience and developing their brand presence through online channels. We have had continued demand from our Retail clients for capable digital / eCommerce contractors, and this is reflected in the price premiums attached to these roles.
As GDPR legislation comes into force a number of our clients, both in Retail and other consumer industries, are focused on ensuring that their businesses are ready for the complex challenges that compliance with the legislation creates. As a result GDPR contractors are in exceptionally high demand.
Customer-centricity and the consumer experience will continue to grow in importance as key pillars of successful retailers’ strategies, with companies facing the pressure of providing better consumer experience with increasingly tighter margins due to falling high street spending.
Technology will underpin Omnichannel strategies, and supply chain systems will have to support increased expectations from customers around delivery speed and hassle free returns.
As retail transactions continue to move online, eCommerce experience and online brand presence are crucial to staying ahead of the curve and beating the competition. Investment in technology platforms and projects will fuel continued demand for contract resources, with rates remaining stable, however increased scrutiny of project spend will demand justifiably strong returns per pound spent. Retailers will need to ensure that they are making the right investment decisions in their technology and their people in order to meet these challenges.
Daniel is Associate Director in psd’s Technology & Change contracting practice, focusing on the Retail and Leisure sectors.