High street retailers are increasingly looking to employ technological tactics to entice consumers into shops, in an attempt to fight back against the trend towards online shopping.
Nearly half of the UK population now owns a smartphone, according to research by Kantar Worldpanel ComTech in August 2011. In a study of 5,000 companies with over 100 employees by Virgin Media Business, a third believe that the majority of their revenue will be driven via the smartphone in the next decade.
As a result, almost a quarter of retailers are looking to offer mobile payment methods such as Near-Field Communications (NFC) in the next twelve months. A further 14 percent of are planning to invest in virtual shop windows, which allow passers-by to scan a quick response (QR) code on their smartphone and make a purchase without entering the shop.
Meanwhile, 21 percent of those surveyed said they need more Wi-Fi in stores to provide innovative sales offers and marketing promotions, and 14 percent said they are looking to invest in mobile applications that deliver location-based offers directly to the customers' handsets as they pass by the store.
“Stores have recognised the fact they need to offer a quicker, sleeker and better value service to keep up with their digital rivals. The rate at which technology is developing means the shopper has a ton more options than they had just five years ago,” said Tony Grace, Chief Operating Officer of Virgin Media Business.
“Integrating a mix of new technology will help to deliver smarter offers to customers and tempt them away from the computer,” he added.
The report follows the news that Game Group, the company that owns high-street games retailers Game and Gamestation, has gone into administration, following financial troubles and stiff competition from online retailers.
On Monday, administrators PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) announced the immediate closure of 277 stores in the UK and Ireland, and said that 2,104 employees would be made redundant this week.