Oxford Street retailers slow to adopt new technology

EE, Apple, Carphone Warehouse, John Lewis and Nike most tech-savvy stores
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New research reveals a lukewarm use of new technology at Britain’s highest profile shopping destination.

Omnico found that only 14 per cent of stores on Oxford Street and Regent Street offer free Wi-Fi, with just eight per cent offering assistance through tablet computers in store.

Even though 200 million people visit the West End each year, queue-busting technologies such as self-service checkouts and mobile point of sale are used by less than three per cent of the 90+ retailers surveyed.

In terms of the number of technologies deployed, the best performing retailers in the Oxford Street and Regent Street area are: EE, Apple, Carphone Warehouse, John Lewis and Nike, all utilising six of more customer-facing technologies.

“We’re a little surprised that technologies that improve customer service aren’t particularly prevalent in a prime shopping area of the West End,” said Steve Thomas, chief technology officer, Omnico.

“Even the most popular technology – click and collect – which provides high street retailers with a simple way of joining together their online presence with the store is used in less than half of retailers.”

Another report from SMG revealed the top complaints customers have when shopping in British stores:

1. Lack of staff assistance – 27%
3. No item availability – 20%
4. Unfriendly employees – 12%
5. Problem occurrence – 9%
6. Limited item selection – 9%

Jeremy Michael, MD at SMG, commented: “A period of much needed transformation is underway for the UK High Street—largely prompted by the recent spate of High Street retailers going into administration, increasing competition from e-commerce, and changing consumer expectations. The need for brands to stand out from the crowd is more important than ever as they compete for shoppers.

“To encourage loyal customers who not only return, but recommend, brands need to ensure the customer experience is at the heart of their strategy and their staff are delivering high levels of customer service.”

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