British retailers increasingly investing in their digital operations

Almost half (49%) of major UK retailers are now taking a joint approach to physical and digital investment, according to a survey by VoucherCodes.

The website, part of RetailMeNot, found that fewer than one in 10 (8%) are continuing to prioritise high street investment alone — demonstrating a significant move towards cross-channel retail.

The research included 100 senior executives at major retailers in sectors ranging from fashion, luxury and sports to homeware, consumer electronics and DIY.

Flexible and mobile payment technology are attracting the most investment, VoucherCodes found.

More than half of the retailers surveyed (56%) have invested in payment technology in the last 12 months, and 47% have invested in digital receipts.

Meanwhile, 48% have invested in their own mobile app and in mobile payments and 42% said they have invested in mobile coupons.

Other areas of investment include in-store tablets, third party apps, geofencing and beacon technologies, and augmented and virtual reality.

Customer demand and loyalty is the key motivator for retailers investing in new technologies, according to the research.

However, over half (51%) of retailers admit that new investments are slowed down by a lack of direction in the leadership team.

Commenting on the findings, Paul Lewis, senior director of marketing at VoucherCodes, said: “It is hugely satisfying to see more retailers than ever before investing in a joint approach to the shopping experience — an approach retail experts have been championing for years to encourage a step away from siloed, ineffective teams.

“What this research shows is retailers are finally beginning to understand that the industry is incredibly fickle and requires constant adaptation in order to keep up with consumer demand. Ultimately, consumers are in the driving seat, and retailers can no longer sit regimented if they want to boost sales and keep up with the constant pace of change.

“Change must be implemented across every level of the business and retailers should be looking directly to consumers for inspiration for their next investment in order to reap the rewards.”

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