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Technophobic retailers missing out on new opportunities

16 February 2018 - 13:11 by Graham Miller

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A report published this week by Fujitsu suggests that many British retailers are not preparing themselves to take advantage of the latest technological advancements which could change the way that people shop in the coming years.
Internet Retailing reports that while 45 per cent of consumers believe that technology leads to better shopping experiences, almost three quarters of major outlets are not currently investing in artificial intelligence or virtual reality.
Both of these areas have risen to prominence in the recent past, with VR in particular proving popular amongst consumers. But report spokesperson, Rupal Karia, warned that not enough attention is being paid to these advances, and others like them.
He said that this was not something that was only relevant in the world of safe shopping online, but also when it comes to bricks and mortar retail. There is a willingness amongst consumers to engage with various new technologies, from in-store robotics to autonomous delivery drones, which most companies are simply failing to recognise.
Karia believes that retailers are looking in the wrong direction - focusing on the problems that are being caused for them by the emergence of potentially disruptive technologies, rather than seeing them as an opportunity to make positive changes.
Over a third of the retailers that have thrown their weight behind the latest tech trends reported that improvements to productivity were achieved, while almost half said that they were able to grow their business as a result of their forward-thinking investments.
It has been difficult enough to convince some outlets to embrace safe shopping online, let alone encourage them to think about how they might adopt AI and VR to engage with customers. So the results of this study, while interesting, are perhaps not all that surprising in the circumstances.