PCR editor Dominic Sacco offers his views on emerging technologies for retail stores

PC retailers can lead the way with in-store tech

There are so many press releases that flood my inbox every month about so-called in-store, mobile and e-commerce ‘solutions’.

I have considered setting up some spam filters so they all land in my junk inbox, but that would a) give me fewer things to write about and b) of course be highly unprofessional of me. A lot of the services mentioned in the releases are usually only relevant to big retail chains or enterprises, but I’m hearing of more technologies that are suitable for smaller PC retailers to adopt. 

While decent EPOS till systems are a given, there are plenty of other technologies that can help boost your store, from free Wi-Fi to gadget charging points, mobile payment devices from the likes of Apple Pay, electronic software distribution (ESD) download codes that can be printed onto a receipt, and the tech mentioned elsewhere on this page (see ‘The Future High Street’ below).

It’s also becoming easier for indie PC retailers to get their businesses online and sell their goods on e-commerce platforms, from their own websites to social networks and third-party marketplaces like Amazon and eBay, as well as aggregators like Google Shopping (if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em). There are services like eSellerPro that help you sell in bulk on these sites and minimise time spent uploading product descriptions.

You could argue it’s never been harder to be a small indie retailer today, but in this age of technology there are many more innovative ways to get your store noticed and set yourself apart from the big boys.

The future High Street

Bricks and mortar retail is having to deal with some tough challenges right now – low internet prices, expensive rent and overheads to name a few.

But some UK firms aiming to help the indie retailer embrace the digital age by integrating new technology into their stores. O2 Business and Leeds Ventures have previously worked with large retailers to help them ‘digitise’ their stores – now they’re helping smaller retailers.

Incentives like loyalty cards and smartphone apps can also help drive customers to local stores. Rewarding Visits is one firm using them to give consumers rewards for visiting their local High Street.

Then there’s MallCommerce – a sales channel designed to increase footfall by using 3D navigation (via iBeacons or Wi-Fi) and more.

These technologies will be showcased at the Future High Street Summit on March 25th and 26th at the Nottingham Conference Centre.

Additionally, Cisco’s UK&I CEO Phil Smith believes that the Internet of Things (connected devices) can also benefit retail. “The Internet of Everything presents an opportunity to level the playing field and fend off competition from competitors,” he said.

Cisco research found shoppers want convenient retail experiences, and those offering digital/connected experiences could capture a 15.6 per cent profit improvement.

Image source: PCR visits Samsung’s Experience Store

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