The digital revolution should be embraced if retailers are going to remain relevant in the marketplace.
The latest Eurozone retail sales figures revealed that 14 high street stores a day are closing in the UK.
Meanwhile e-commerce sales for businesses with 10 or more employees have topped £561 billion and 65 per cent of internet users across the EU shop online.
James Parsons, founder & CEO of digital workforce solutions and consulting company Arrows Group Global, said the disruptive influence of technology provides a challenge – but also opportunity.
“Digital technology provides the opportunity for retailers to boost their profitability in times of uncertainty,” he said.
“As consumer confidence is wavering, it is important that retailers ensure they explore all ways to interact with potential customers.
“The millennial generation is proving a challenge for retailers, with a preference for purchasing items anytime, anywhere.”
Amazon this week posted record profits as people migrate in ever greater numbers to online shopping.
And Shop Direct is showing the importance of a data-driven shopping experience to customers with a flurry of appointments.
The technology skills gap is a hindrance to many firms who are unwilling to pay the escalating salaries for developers and R&D workers.
“The difficulty that many businesses face is in creating a digital environment that fosters a culture of innovation, which is ultimately beneficial to end results,” Parsons continued.
“Retailers often have an idea about what they want the end user experience to be, but there is a big gap between idea and reality with it comes to digital transformation projects.
“Having digital expertise is crucial to ensuring that everything runs smoothly. Nothing ruins a customer’s experience more than an offering that is not seamless, while being prone to errors.
“Securing and retaining digital talent can be quite an issue for many retailers, especially in a market where there are more positions going than the skilled professionals to fill them.
“Retailers should not be afraid to look to skills around the globe, as the digital skills are a uniquely worldwide market.
“Often certain digital skillsets are more frequent in specific countries, so retailers need to make it a priority in the current climate, and consider new ways of securing the expertise they require.”