Retailers at the “very cusp of digital transformation wave”

Retailers need to start investing in technology which is still “in the planning stage” as these to stay ahead of their competitors according to new research.

The retail industry is in the cusp of a major digital transformation, according to a new report from Mercaux, which details how the “role of the store has changed” from a single sales channel to a “multi-purpose omnichannel centre”.

In its “The Pulse of Retail 2021 – Connected Retail” report, which surveyed 200 retailers and 2000 consumers, Mercaux argues that retailers have used the pandemic to set “the foundations of digital success” and are now on the “very cusp of a digital transformation wave”.

Physical retail still remains important for retailers, with 73 per cent stating it was high or top of their priority lists, while over half said instore revenues had returned to 60 per cent of pre-pandemic levels.

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According to the research the most popular in-store digital transformation technology launched by retailers is mobile POS, with 20 per cent of retailers installing mobile payment functionality and over half of shoppers stating they were keen to see this employed.

Second was clienteling solutions with 25 per cent of retailers stating they were currently in the process of implementing, followed by the ability to make and accept appointments in store, with 16 per cent stating they had already rollout this functionality.

“Retailers need to start looking at the solutions which are in the planning stage for their competitors, as they are likely to become more popular in the next six months,” Mercaux’s co-founder and chief executive Olga Kotsur said.

“They also need to listen to consumers wants and desires – our findings indicate that over two thirds would like retail staff to use inventory tools, and more than half were interested in using Digital Fitting Rooms.

“Consumer interest and demand for a more integrated shopping experience is here. Retailers need to meet this need and quickly – very few can afford to wait for lengthy back-end systems to be built before embarking on digital transformation projects. Hesitating could be considerably damaging to their growth potential.”

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