Posted by: Geoffrey Barraclough  |   Comments  No Response

Last week’s Retail Business Technology Expo 2012 was the ideal setting to show off our latest technology innovations. So we parked our demo showcase “bus” at Earls Court and gave people the chance to get their hands on some of the exciting stuff that’s set to shape retail – while they picked the brains of our experts at the same time.

We’d set up personal tours of the showcase in advance, which was a good move, or we’d have had people queuing for the bus! That’s definitely something we want to avoid, as queuing is the number one gripe among shoppers, according to recent BT research.

Basically, waiting is something you do at the dentist. Shopping’s supposed to be a more pleasurable experience – and with people getting more and more used to instant online ordering, they just don’t want to wait…

That online experience is generating other frustrations in-store. As well as being tired of standing in line at the till, people are also driven up the wall by sales assistants with less knowledge than them. Without doubt the point of sale needs to become a point of service – and bring the best of the web in-store.

Other innovations on show backed this up. We had smart digital signage – including transparent video screens – tons of exciting ways to get more out of mobility and huge innovation in the payments area.

It’s clear that bridging the gap between online and in-store is one of the top priorities for retailers. And achieving that depends very heavily on having the right network infrastructure in place, as this is what’s powering successful multichannel retailing.

You just need to look at the extra IT investment announced by John Lewis to know that, if you want to prosper, you need to nurture the systems that support multichannel retailing. John Lewis is setting the benchmark and others will follow.

The Expo showed that retailers are looking for innovation and the vehicle for change gave everyone a glimpse of the possible.

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