UK retailers lack strategy for in-store technology says report

13th February 2018

Half of UK retailers lack a digital strategy for their stores despite growing consumer demand for change, according to research presented in a new report by technology company Fujitsu.

The document – Fujitsu’s Tech in a Transforming Britain Report – is based on research with 2,000 consumers. It finds that 46 per cent of UK shoppers believe Augmented Reality (AR) will have a positive impact on retail, while 22 per cent think the same about Virtual Reality (VR).

The report finds that only 50 per cent of retailers have a digital strategy for the introduction of these features. Nearly three quarters (73 per cent) of retailers have no plans to introduce VR in the next 12 months, a higher proportion than in any other business sector; 72 per cent have no plans to introduce elements of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in-store.

“When it comes to retail, consumers already say that they would be happy to be served by a robot in a supermarket or to have an automated machine to deliver their goods. This presents an exciting opportunity for retailers, who may have thought such futuristic technologies would have scared customers away, when actually it will entice consumers towards them more” claims Rupal Karia, MD, of the Commercial Sector for Fujitsu UK & Ireland.

However, the research shows that retail sector leaders are the least positive about the changes technology is creating in their businesses, compared to other sectors; 25 per cent are disappointed in the return on investment technology has brought so far.

Retailers which have embraced technology are more positive about the changes – though not all have seen benefits. Increased productivity (35 percent), improved operational efficiency (37 percent) and business growth (44 percent) were listed as benefits.