9 Nov, 2015

How are Digital Technologies Changing the Retail Industry?

“The internet is the first thing that humanity has built that humanity doesn’t understand, the largest experiment in anarchy we’ve ever had” – Eric Schmidt, Google 
It takes a great deal to stop and think about how much the digital revolution has changed the way we live – from how we communicate, how we drive, how we spend and even how we think. At the heart of the digital revolution is innovation – it is all about reinventing the old and making it more efficient for modern life. It’s about making people's lives simpler. Easier. After all, we live in a world which moves at 1,040 mph so why should the assets in our lives slow us down?  

Some of the biggest companies in the world right now have taken that ideology of making lives simpler and carried it at the forefront of their existence. Look at Uber – a start-up taxi firm now worth $50 bn for the simple reason that it makes people’s everyday life simpler.

The challenges for businesses in this century are based on their usability and usefulness to a consumer. It is no longer just about attracting customers (although this is obviously still important) it is about keeping hold of that valuable customer by staying relevant through continuous innovation of business processes.  

The retail industry has been no stranger to the demands of a digital audience. We have spoken before about the importance of an online presence – especially for businesses within the retail industry. In fact, two of the biggest trends of this year were solely focused on user experience – how are users engaging with your site and how can you improve this to ensure they stay on your site and go through with a purchase. 

One of latest trends aimed at catering to this digital audience was the introduction of a responsive design – rather than creating separate mobile friendly sites, businesses were encouraged to ‘go responsive’ to encourage fluidity across their site and enhance user experience. The introduction of businesses such as PayPal have also aided digital retail by streamlining the processes of online shopping by securely storing customers payment details and as thus making the online payment process much simpler.

Another great example of continuous innovation in digital retail comes from digital pioneers: Apple. Their recent release of Apply Pay created a pivotal change in the way we spend – a contactless payment achieved with just a touch of a finger on your smart phone. Credited as ‘secure, simple and even more useful’, Apple’s success within the industry comes from their ability to not only build great technology but to show how intrinsic their products are to people’s everyday life. 

Apple’s acquisition of PrimeSense, a 3D sensing company hints that the future will see the introduction of 3D modelling – a process of being able to not only digitally try on clothes but through the use of Kinect technology generate heat maps to show where clothes will be too loose or tight. In addition, Googles mapping technology is able to locate shoppers though augmented reality integration and enable in store navigation to help shoppers not only find what they are looking for  but also offer deals based on shopper’s proximity to particular products within the store. 

So yes, it is daunting to stop and think about the way digital is transforming the way we do everything but it’s also really exciting. Whilst some may pine for days of trawling through the shops and paying with cash– reality is there is no escaping digital innovation – whether it is in the automotive, healthcare or retail industry - as long as there are people in the world, knowledge still to learn and innovators pioneering new technologies; then the way we live will continue to be shaped by the digital technologies around us. 

If you would like to put your business at the forefront of the digital revolution and improve your business' online performance then speak to a member of our digital experts today.