The digital revolution has dramatically altered the way that consumers can browse and purchase a range of products and services. In the past decade we have seen a huge trend for people in the UK switching from visiting high street shops to buying online.
Much of this trend is as a result of mobile and internet technologies that were barely thinkable at the turn of the century. So, what technological changes lie ahead for UK’s retailers in the coming years?
Continued rise of smartphone shopping and usage
We’ve seen an explosion of mobile shopping over the past decade. This is because the humble smartphone allows just about anybody to compare prices, browse goods and buy products from all over the world. As a result, Google’s search engine algorithms now prioritise those retailers whose websites have been found to be mobile-friendly.
This means that all retailers will have to create websites that are fully functional on the smaller screen of smartphones and tablets. Because of this, many small brands have had to use services like Shopify or even eBay to ensure their sites are as mobile-friendly as possible. Being mobile-friendly is very important, and this is top priority for a number of thriving industries. But it goes a step further, as mobile apps tend to offer a more comprehensive platform-specific user experience. That’s why companies like eBay and Amazon are constantly working on improving their Android and iOS apps. This trend has been noticed in iGaming as well – as one of the rising industries. There’s been a rise of their presence in the mobile world, as mobile casinos are a thing now in 2020. So it’s clear that mobile is an important platform for iGaming just as it’s important to retail.
These measures are essential as it is thought that the mobile commerce sales are currently growing at a staggering 16% per year. With the UK mobile commerce market expected to hit £1.77 trillion by 2022, it has become critical to cater to this new way of shopping.
The arrival of 5G technology
The deployment of 5G networking is still some way off becoming widespread, but it’s going to be pivotal to speeding up a number of processes in the retail sector. We have already seen EE introducing the first 5G service and it’s going to mark a big shift for the nation’s retail outlets. Most of the UK is expected to have 5G by 2022 and it promises processing speeds up to 100 times faster than the current rates.
The wireless technology will mean that the audio-visual content on a web-shop can be processed much quicker and it will cause the average consumer to spend much longer on their devices. But 5G also has the power to transform the way that we process transactions in physical shops too.
Better connectivity will mean that payments can be processed much more efficiently, and this could be essential for those peak times of year such as the festive season. Above all, 5G promises to make all aspects of retail trade that use internet technologies much quicker and more productive.
Superior customer service
Providing good customer support is essential for all retail operations. As most people’s first contact with a retailer is usually via the brand’s website, it is hugely important that this provides the customer with helpful ways to resolve any queries.
Gone are the days when merely providing the customer with a telephone number and email address was adequate. This is because chatbots are now starting to pop up on a variety of retailers’ websites. Although the initial chatbots proved to be annoying for many consumers, things have now reached the point where natural language processing has improved significantly.
By introducing chatbots to cover the most basic online tasks on a retailer’s website, it could free up resources for the company to concentrate on more creative matters. While chatbots proved to have a negative effect on their introduction, as technology improves we can expect to see them becoming more widespread on retail websites in the future.