Fujitsu has predicted what it thinks will be the key trends for the retail industry in 2015
1. Use of contactless will be driven by improvements in security
There are now 43m contactless cards in the UK with TFL recently giving the payment method a huge usage boost by rolling out contactless on the London Underground. However there are some problems to iron out before consumers are comfortable using the technology – particularly for larger transactions. Security remains an issue and the need to address this with fast, reliable technology that matches the speed and efficiency of contactless will be a major focus in 2015.
Biometrics is the obvious answer with fingerprint- or palm-recognition technology now becoming more of a standard – thanks in part to its inclusion on the new iPhones launched in 2014. The drawback at the moment is that some of these security technologies hold up the payment process as they take longer than PIN. To encourage wider use of contactless, and ensure this spreads to larger transactions and therefore really starts to benefit all retailers and consumers, we need a solution that gives the same speed of the PIN. As such, speeding up a secure contactless payment process will be key in 2015.
2. Digital will create a truly personalised shopping experience
The use of digital technology to offer a tailored experience to shoppers is not necessarily a new trend but is one that’s yet to reach its full potential. We anticipate it will become far more widespread over the next year. We have already seen brands such as Burberry put digital at the centre of its offering, with RFID-tagged clothing and magic mirrors being used to improve in-store and online experience.
It’s all about streamlining the shopping experience and making sure customers get everything they want from their visit. Virtual fittings rooms such as FitME, where customers input their measurements and the system works out what is good for their shape and suggests purchases, will become more common. M&S has already been trialling and rolling out digital technologies across its stores, for example virtual counters and QR codes which make it easier for customers to order out of stock items for home or in-store delivery. We expect more and more major retail brands to follow suit.
3. A new high street will appear to serve a new form of shopper
The high street is alive and kicking but is being used in a different way. The modern high street is one which provides a physical home for omnichannel retail and it is serving a consumer generation used to the instantaneous, convenient nature of mobile and online commerce. As such, the likes of Click and Collect have breathed new life into bricks and mortar – allowing people to shop on mobile, desktop or social media but pick up items on the high street, thereby addressing the online shopping problem of arranging delivery times while also bringing people back to the high street.
We expect this kind of cross-channel shopping experience to expand in 2015. Dropbox delivery in particular will become more prevalent – especially as mobile- and social-commerce continues to expand. Ultimately, we’re living in a mobile generation and we want a streamlined, cross-channel retail experience. 2015 will be the year retailers really begin to see the opportunity in this and start to change their approach.