As this year’s Christmas shopping season reaches its conclusion, technology entrepreneur and CEO of Powa Technologies, Dan Wagner, proposes a synergy between traditional retail and innovative technologies to save the UK’s high streets
Over the past few years there have been many attempts to breathe new life into Britain’s ailing high streets. With online retail expected to account for over half of this year’s Christmas purchases and mobile devices allowing users to shop on the go, it’s clear that radical action is urgently required to restore the fortunes of the UK’s town and city centres.
Entrepreneur and CEO of Powa Technologies, Dan Wagner, proposes an innovative, technology-led approach towards Britain’s struggling shops that puts fundamental change at the heart of the solution.
Wagner said: “The high street has long been the poor cousin of the internet in terms of the richness of its engagement with consumers. We get a much better experience online, and not just because we are sitting at home with our feet up in comfort, but because the level of engagement and personalisation is much higher.
“But the mobile smartphone is now allowing traditional bricks and mortar retailers to re-address this situation by becoming the centre-point for customers’ engagement with brands. Smartphones are reshaping the way in which consumers are interacting with retailers. Developments with low-energy bluetooth beacons that can be strategically placed around stores, messaging shoppers as they approach special offers are making the whole experience more interactive. This approach can offer a more personalised service that is in tune with the customer’s preferences, whilst also retaining valuable data about their shopping behaviour. And it’s not just about the in-store experience either, the interaction can continue outside on the street or even at the customer’s home.
“We are evangelists for the changing technology landscape for retailers. Mobile smartphone technology along with developments in the design and layout of shops, are providing a convenient, exciting and inviting browsing environment to tempt more buyers through the doors. More informal, less linear store layouts allow browsing and purchasing to be interlinked. This approach combined with making payment more convenient though taking the transaction to the customer, really improves engagement. Making payments mobile eliminates the frustration that comes with queuing around the Christmas season, therefore making the whole process of shopping easier and ultimately more enjoyable.”
(In a landmark deal that underlines the credibility of e-commerce solutions like Wagner’s Mpowa and PowaTag technologies, one of the world’s largest investment management funds recently made a $76m equity investment into Powa Technologies Group valuing the business in the hundreds of millions of dollars.)