Published on in RetailInnovation

Retail today is developing and changing at an incredible pace, with new technologies and innovations coming to the foreground almost daily.

In the past decade we have seen online sales make significant headway, now making up roughly 15% of UK purchases, and mobile is beginning to follow suit.

In a world where consumers are constantly on the go and looking for ways to make their lives easier, simpler, and more efficient, retailers need to align themselves with those needs – or run the risk of missing out.

Consumer appetite

The latest innovation to hit our consumers is voice ordering.

The likes of Apple, Amazon and Google have been toying with digital assistants for a fair few years now with Siri, Alexa and Google Home, and now they have the capabilities to order products, with a simple voice command.

As it stands, 20% of all searches now are made via voice, and there is a clear appetite for more, as 45% of consumers are already using or intend to use voice assistants in the next 12 months.

The early adopters

There are some retailers that are already taking notice of the appetite for this new way of shopping.

In the US we have seen Walmart team up with Google, and across the pond, Tesco now provides the service with Google, and Ocado has enabled customers to dictate their shopping list with Amazon Echo.

As retailers enter the voice ordering arena, they are demonstrating their commitment to the diversification and innovation of their services, culminating in an improved ability to meet the needs of the customer.

It points towards the simple truth that customers have an increased appetite for a plethora of channels through which they can shop.

This is especially true in a world where consumers are flocking towards shopping experiences that offer them convenience and efficiency over value.

The opportunity for retailers

Our recent study highlighted that 8-in-10 consumers would spend more with retailers that have a better technology offering.

So, whilst high street stores hold greater opportunities than ever, it’s clear that those who are unwilling to embrace technological advancements will not reap the rewards.

Retailers need to take note and ensure that they too are providing their customers with the relevant channels for their shopping needs – or risk losing them.

It is imperative that retailers ensure they are moving forward and adapting their offerings if they are to maintain and grow their customer base.

With new players entering the market all the time, retailers need to find alternative ways to differentiate themselves and optimize their services.

These new voice ordering services will not only give customers another option, but could potentially transform their experience with a retailer and create long-term loyalty.

Fast adopters stand to win – while retailers who fall behind may very well lose customers, costing millions.

What lies in store?

As the UK continues its digital journey, technology has a crucial part to play in helping retailers to differentiate their experiences from their competitors.

Retailers must be visionary in their use of tech, and give shoppers what they want before they know they want it.

With consumer confidence plunging, competition is fierce and both customer loyalty and shopping experience are weighing in.

And with customers and competitors poised to move forward, those standing still face a worrying prospect – being the next generation of retailers to be pushed out of the high street for good.

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Rupal Karia

Head of Public & Private Sectors at Fujitsu UK & Ireland
Rupal leads Fujitsu's business serving public and private sector organisations in the UK, encompassing Retail, Hospitality, Public Sector & Government, Manufacturing, Utilities, Telecoms and Services.

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