This week’s choice quotes from the retail technology world…
“Traditional bricks and mortar retailers are struggling to compete with the more flexible and lower cost e-tailer model with store closures and profit warnings an increasingly common phenomenon. As such, internet sales will take an ever-greater share of total consumer spending.
Those physical stores that are left need to adapt to changing consumer habits and expectations, which includes being flexible in how they accept payments. As such the use of cash will continue to decline and the opportunity for using alternative payments will only increase. Credit and debit cards are likely to benefit in the near term, but as awareness of alternatives grow these too are likely to see market share gradually shrink.” James Knightley, Chief International Economist, ING
“For Walmart to successfully compete against Amazon as a retailer, it will need to beat Amazon at its own game. That means speeding up its effort to deploy a cashier-less checkout system across a sizable brick and mortar footprint. For that, the company does not need backend scalability per say. Rather, it needs a partner capable of solving big data problems, wrangling Internet of Things (IoT) devices and plying artificial intelligence (AI), all from the vantage point of a single cloud platform. This is the underlying technological current flowing beneath the Microsoft and Walmart partnership.” Brad Shimmin, Technology Analyst, GlobalData
“Sales growth for UK online retail has been consistently strong so far in 2018 – in spite of the fact that there are signs of a slowdown underway. The smartphone has been the main device accounting for that high growth, yet despite sales being up +34% through these devices in June, it was actually the lowest growth rate for smartphones since October 2014.
The reason that this lower rate is not causing a wider slowdown in the overall index is likely due to the fact that smartphones now account for over one-third of total online retail sales. For many people, they are either already, or well on their way to becoming, the device of choice for browsing and shopping in most contexts.” Andy Mulcahy, Strategy and Insight Director, IMRG
“Poundworld has very clear positioning as a discount retailer. But they have missed out on investing in new technologies that improve the customer experience. As our expectations for more personalised and convenient shopping expands, even discount retailers are facing a challenge from global online brands such as Amazon and eBay. With so many alternative retailers squeezing the low-margin industry, brands like Poundworld now need to embrace all the channels at their disposal.
Other pound shops are gaining a competitive edge with digital approaches that put their brand in the online world. For example, Poundland’s irreverent ‘elf on the shelf’ Christmas campaign on social media has given the brand a point of differentiation in a market where most retailers are heavily price-focused. As consumer wallets are squeezed even further, pound shops can no longer rely on impulse purchases, but should be building customer engagement strategies.” Chris Haines, Director of Consulting, Amplience
“The good news is that after extensive marketing and hype, Amazon has clearly pushed demand for its Prime extravaganza to an all-time high, maybe even more than it anticipated. Fortunately, that means the day will likely be a financial success even with the various system problems. That this year's event is longer than in previous years will also play to Amazon's advantage.” Neil Saunders, Managing Director, GlobalData Retail
“To be brutally honest, the diagnosis is already clear, and it’s terminal unless the Government and retailers act swiftly. Our latest research suggests that by 2030 over 40% of all retail sales will be online and up to half of our existing High Street stores will have closed. The High Street is sinking fast from the perfect storm of home shopping and ruinous business rates that retailers have been screaming in protest against for some years.” ParcelHero’s Head of Consumer Research, David Jinks
“High Streets and small businesses are the backbone of our economy and we want to see them thrive now and in the future. People care about their local High Streets because they are the centres of their community. But they are changing, and the government is committed to helping communities adapt.
High Streets of the future will still be commercial centres, but consumers now look for a wider range of experiences, from leisure to health services. They may well feature more homes, childcare centres and gyms to bring people back and ensure that they keep returning.” High Streets Minister Jake Berry
“The continued growth of Amazon’s Marketplace makes sense on a number of levels. More buyers transacting more often on Amazon will naturally attract third party sellers. But because third party transactions are also more profitable, Amazon has every incentive to make the process as seamless as possible for those selling on the platform.” eMarketer Principal Analyst Andrew Lipsman