Retail stores keeping up to date on technology could reduce closures

An earlier report by PwC revealed that more than six stores in the UK are closing a net 28 day.

In the past three months the problem has accelerated with stores closing a net 20 a day towards the end of 2012.

"2012 saw more retail chains go into insolvency than ever before. The failed chains generally shared two problems- too many stores and too little multi-channel activity," said Mike Jervis, insolvency partner and retail specialist at PwC. "A number of them had failed to deal with their underlying issues by hiding behind light touch restructuring processes, especially Company Voluntary Arrangements. 2013 has seen the downward trend become even worse."

However, a recent study by Virgin Media Business revealed that 88% of CIOs believed that introducing more modern technology on the high street has helped the online shopping experience in the past year.

Virgin Media Business suggests that businesses need to make sure they are using the right multi-channel activity to better cater to customers.

So if a consumer has a mobile wallet, offering them the option of a mobile till instead of the standard one could be a step in the right direction.

"It’s clear that retailers need to improve the shopping experience they’re offering the customer – ensuring the online and in store experiences are seamless," said Tony Grace, COO at Virgin Media Business. "Bringing online tools into the high street, such as virtual fitting rooms, and combining the sales channels will ultimately make for a richer and more engaging shopping experience. "

Grace says that the successful retailers in the past few years have been the ones working hard to beef up their digital offerings.

"To keep the High Street going, retailers large and small need to think harder about how technology in-store can help to drive sales further," he added. "Integrating mobile shopping apps and using social networking to build awareness can help retailers to thrive again. It’s not just about the fancy new gadgets – retailers have to consider the importance of working closely with its network provider to ensure a safe and secure infrastructure is in place to enable this revolution to take place."

 

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