The Role of the Retail Store Must Change

Retail stores that aren’t thinking digital might soon be a thing of the past

Fujitsu explained this clearly with their recent report the Forgotten Shop Floor where the rise of the digital high street was described. This is getting a lot of attention right now within the retail industry, no truer than a focus for myself in Qlik as someone who started their career on the high street shop floor some 30 years ago without any digital capability.

Rupal Karia, Managing Director - Retail and Hospitality, Fujitsu UK & Ireland in his foreword of the report that the research explored stated most consumers believe a physical Amazon or eBay store would quickly become their favorite place to shop. They believe these disruptors will bring that digital experience into the high street and deliver the same convenience they get online. Rupal goes on to say for traditional bricks and mortar retailers, this statistic alone should ring the alarm and force them to consider their in-store digital strategy today.

Whilst many other reports like these focus on improving the customer experience, it is typically about getting more digital devices and experiences into the hands of consumers. Whereas what I like about this report, it sought the views of 1,000 retail employees from their experience of in-store technology and what is needed not just for their customers, but their own people too.

When it comes to understanding in-store technology usage from store employees, the question was asked: How often do you use in-store technology to help customers?In total combined, 89% responded they used in-store technology between 2-3 up to multiple times a day. Those surveyed stated that they use in-store tech through smart checkouts, stock monitoring, and customer loyalty systems amongst the most utilised systems.

#Retail without data analytics is fading fast:

What I am also seeing is a trend from retailers to get data and analytics into the hands of store employees. This allows store employees to adapt quickly and efficiently to deliver an excellent operational service through certain types of analysis such as product sales, markdowns, and inventory management that ultimately are still about focusing on delivering a customer experience.

This is why in my previous blogs I have written; I continue to talk about why are the most important front-line employees still being ignored? Further, I’ve discussed how it is possible today to provide digital data-driven insight and analysis through mobile technology, an example of this is the retail Qlik Sense Chat Bot. Qlik has done this by creating an analytical assistant - that turns data visualization into conversational analytics. Bots can be used by store employees, anywhere, on any device and at any time.

As stated by Rupal Karia in the Fujitsu report, the warning is loud and clear for retailers, they must be visionary or face being the next generation of stores pushed out of the high street for good. I for one don’t want to see that happening.

Check out the report here:

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