LOOKING into the future, a local retail technology
expert has forecast the shape of Liverpool's burgeoning shopping district in
2020. Mobile lead, multi channel and with an enhanced store experience are just
a few of the ways the likes of Liverpool ONE, Bold Street and Lord Street, will
adjust according to Retail Store founder and CEO Ian Tomlinson.
Ian said:- "Whilst Liverpool was reinventing itself, so was the retail
world and Liverpool ONE is a leading example of the new retail experience. It
fuses together perfectly retail, digital and destination marketing. However our
research has shown us, that as retailers invest more in technology and play
catch up with the likes of China, Japan and USA, the face of Liverpool as a
shopping destination could be very different in just a couple of years time."
The Knowsley based IT firm has just stepped into it's 15th year, after being the
1st to introduce cloud technology to retailers internationally. Created by
Manchester born Ian on the back of a napkin, the system allows retailers to
track and manage stock, sales and inventory through a wholly digital platform.
With the apparent 'threat' to the high street posed by digital
retailers and web based platforms, Ian cites a shift in both culture and
approach to this so called:- 'online ambush.'
"Industry buzz words like omni channel exist for a reason. we shop differently
and we want different things from our retail environments. We no longer jump in
our car or on the bus to get to the shops, buy our goods and return home. We
dwell longer in evolving leisure cum shopping destinations; we desire the
tangible experience of picking up the goods after we have researched deals,
details and discounts online; and more often than not, we still want the social
aspect of shopping, whether that be meeting with friends to dine, drink and
shop, or sharing our hauls on social media." said Ian.
Ian forecasts that the consumer will not only desire a quicker, more efficient
way to shop with the increased used of mobile technology as a form of payment
and to house loyalty apps, but screenless ATM's could also be a nuance quickly
adopted by destinations like Liverpool ONE, to create a seamlessly integrated
"Iris and retina scanners as well as fingerprint technology are already being
trailed as are pre-order app drinks at Starbucks. RRobots are serving customers
at Pizza Hut in Tokyo and there's a zero clicks app for Dominoes being tested.
All of this helps to reduce the so called 'friction' with customers and enhances
the experience. It's not outlandish to say that we could see versions of these
kinds of technology in Liverpool within a matter of years." added Ian...
With digital forward stores like Argos in Liverpool ONE, "the influx of
'show rooming' will increase", says Ian, with customers being able to
choose from:- 'extended digital aisles' offering a wider range of
products, colours and styles, for in store or home delivery.
"This means the brand can still have that interaction with their customers
without the need for housing huge amounts of stock. helping them to better
manage their inventory and with unnecessary financial outlay. This is a tactic
which could have saved the likes of BHS, who stuck with the old model of
retailing and fell victim to the rapidly growing evolution of multi channel
consumerism." added Ian.
With an Amazon Click and Collect hub and Doddle Collect and Return station,
abundant parking and well connected public transport, Liverpool ONE is already
ahead of the curve in achieving that omni channel experience, says Ian.
But the future of Liverpool as a shopping destination, not only relies on
retailers keeping up with the heartbeat of the consumer, but the understanding
that the consumer still desires that experience of shopping and to make it a
more enjoyable experience, each and every time.
"Whether you're a Millennial or from Gen X, we know that what makes the consumer
tick is a lot different to how it was even 5 years ago. The interesting point is
that now, with advances in technology happening every day, the speed at which
the shift change will happen will be monumentally quick, and I for one am
excited." added Ian.
So let us know what you think about this.... Do you agree with Ian? Please let
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