Posted on June 27, 2017 by staff

True innovation key to retail success


Retailers must truly innovate and not just skirt around change, according to an entrepreneur set to speak at our tech in retail breakfast.

Al Mackin is the CEO and co-founder of Formisimo, which aims to cut abandoned shopping carts and improve sales for eCommerce companies.

“The future is exciting because we don’t know where we’ll end up,” Mackin told BusinessCloud. “Every aspect of retail is up for change, from the way that items are delivered, the way that you pay and the way you interact with a brand.

“The rate of change is increasing, splitting the market into two: the companies that truly innovate, and those that skirt around innovation.”

Formisimo plans to expand the team to 12 at its base in Salford Quays’ MediaCityUK after doubling its revenue and adding more than 100 new customers to its client list.

As for what most excites him about upcoming tech in the retail arena, he said: “Artificial intelligence will benefit both the consumer and the retailer, from improving margins by making decisions automatically to increasing conversion rates by showing consumers the right products at the right time.

“AI will allow teams to do more, reducing the need to increase headcount as a company scales and allowing more disruptive new entrants into the market.”

Michael Lawes, co-founder and director of BizzleIt – which provides software solutions to high street retailers – will also speak at the event this week.

He said: “Particularly in the high street, we’re seeing huge household name retailers feeling the pinch against online.

“Those who are sluggish and don’t react quick enough, embracing the challenge, are going to flounder, leaving the door open for any new disruptive players to rise rapidly by embracing this new retail landscape.

“Data shows trends towards convenience and ease being the highest factors in customer service these days, overtaking the likes of helpful staff and human interaction.

“So it’s no doubt we’ll see continued growth in self-service retailers and automated solutions in the future – perhaps even implementing immersive AI and VR solutions.

“But I’m waiting to see how the consumer embraces this. Will it be a short-lived gimmick? Or will it pave the way of the future of retail?”