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Retailers need to raise consumer confidence in order to offset slow sales growth, says Conversity

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Recent research has revealed that the UK is set to become the world’s third slowest-growing retail market in 2018, as the fallout of Brexit turns sales volumes negative. In times of such economic uncertainty, it has never been more important for retailers to boost customer confidence by better personalising the customer experience, thereby meeting customer expectation and addressing this lack of growth.

So warns retail technology expert Conversity. The research, carried out by the Economist Intelligence Unit, revealed that the UK’s average retail growth forecast is set to decline by 0.4 per cent in 2018, making it one of only three markets in the world to experience negative growth, alongside Egypt and Venezuela. This is in contrast with nations such as China and Algeria, which are both predicted to experience an average growth in excess of 7 per cent.

Dave Stark, CEO at Conversity explains: “This research highlights the tough times retailers are going to face in 2018, and underlines the amount of work that needs to be done to address the issues. Today’s multi-channel retail environment is an extremely competitive one, where speed, convenience and personalisation play a significant role. Consumers have become used to shopping across a wide variety of different channels, and expect a high level of personalised service. In order to offset the effects of this predicted negative growth, retailers must do more to instil confidence in their consumers, by assuring them that their individual needs are at the heart of the customer journey.”

In order to increase the level of personalisation offered as part of the customer experience, and to increase the likelihood of customers purchasing quickly and doing so on a regular basis, retailers must adopt innovative technology that makes the buying process more intuitive and tailored to the needs of each individual customer. This is where intelligent guided selling technology can play a significant role.

Stark adds: “Intelligent guided selling works by gently prompting and guiding customers step-by-step through a logical sequence of decisions leading to an informed purchase. They uncover customer needs based on insight gathered from the likes of lifestyle assessments and customer profile, preference and buying pattern data. Using this information, they intuitively make purchasing easier and highly personalised, adding an extra element of theatre to the shopping experience, which in turn drives higher conversion, higher order values and greater satisfaction.”

Stark concludes: “The UK retail sector is at serious risk of falling behind the rest of the world and is failing to do the best for its customers at present. Economic factors may be at play in contributing towards sluggish progress in the sector, but this should not stand in the way of attempts by retailers to differentiate themselves from their competitors. Organisations in the sector need to take matters into their own hands, by embracing technology that is designed to optimise the buying process and encourage consumers to make smarter, more confident and more frequent purchases.”

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