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Increase flexibility and embrace loyalty tech or risk failure, experts warn

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As the digital revolution pushes ahead, retailers are being warned to prioritise disruptive innovation in 2018, or risk being displaced. Retail businesses are under continuous pressure to stay relevant as consumer expectations keep evolving at a time when customers can switch between competitors at the swipe of a smartphone.

Research shows 38% of UK consumers buy products at least monthly using mobile devices, yet almost a quarter (22%) believe retail sites aren’t easy to use through this medium. These figures highlight why it’s so important the industry embraces technological innovation to remain relevant, or risk losing out on vital sales.

Cloud-based retail platform commercetools has recently undergone an innovation project which has enabled the business to add new customer touch points, 90% faster than before. The company’s Chief Technology Officer, Hajo Eichler, explains why concentrating on continuously evolving in retail is so vital.

“Traditional web shop solutions which rely on templates no longer offer enough flexibility in a world where consumers use multiple devices to shop and buy. The older systems are also difficult or impossible to adapt for the omnichannel sales and logistics that are now must-haves for long term sales success and customer loyalty.

“For scalability, resilience and cost containment, retailers also need to move away from on-premise solutions which have characterised ecommerce in the past and migrate to cloud solutions. Using agile software development to deploy from cloud to mobile and IoT devices offers a better way to build the retail experience of the future.”

Mark Baker, Field Product Manager, Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, which powers the commercetools cloud platform, says: “The modern consumer is looking for a consistent experience, no matter which channels they use, whether smartphones, tablets, wearables, digital point of sale systems or laptops. A flexible approach that prioritises innovation is needed to drive engagement and prevent competitors or new market entrants from taking the lead with technology that can transform the entire sector in no time at all.”

“To ensure they don’t get left behind, retailers must embrace open source software and agile techniques of rapidly iterating improvements into their systems that can be adjust easily as customer expectations evolve. This will ensure retailers can keep up with the latest innovations without changing their entire IT ecosystem, which would prove a costly and time-consuming process.”

“Working in this way will not only enable retail businesses to react to any new consumer trends but also build their own innovative platforms to help them differentiate themselves in a hugely competitive market.

“In the digital age, technology is the differentiator and ignoring the importance of innovation is akin to accepting failure. Those businesses which do so won’t be around in five years’ time.”

IMAGE Max Pixel

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