Retailers differentiating through digital: an IDC perspective

Growing consumer comfort in online shopping is changing everything, according to new IDC Insights sponsored by Adobe. With more and more people using their mobile phones and tablets to research and make purchases, the retail landscape is evolving at a rapid pace. Making creative use of digital technologies to provide a seamless cross-channel experience for consumers, whether on the sofa or the shop floor, is now a huge priority for brands.

Online shopping has been able to grab the attention of consumers and keep them engaged, but it is dangerous to think that this technology is separate from the physical shopping experience. The IDC research shows that two thirds (67%) of UK consumers are now using their mobile device in-store to look out for additional product information. Seemingly, individual needs are not always being met on the High Street.

Spencer Izard, Head of European Retail Insights at IDC authored the new report. He says, “Mobile phones are now a huge part of our shopping experience whether at home, in-store or elsewhere. The worst thing that could happen would be to lose a customer to a competitor when you’ve already got them in the building. But this is a realistic prospect unless you can make sure they are getting an engaging experience, and accessing all the right information on their mobile device to help them make a purchasing decision.”

Many UK retailers are already thinking creatively to address the growing divide between in-store and online. Half (50%) of retailers are investing in in-store location-based technologies – such as iBeacons – and others are utilising digital signage, interactive display technology and arming shop assistants with tablets, so they can provide as much information for consumers as possible.

The expectation for digital experiences is also having significant consequences on the role of IT in retail. Further insight from IDC has identified that two thirds (66%) of UK retailers have an active digital transformation programme in place and IT departments are having to adjust to their new operational reality. Their role has fundamentally changed, and teams are now tasked with creating a strong platform for retailers to improve digital experiences, wherever and however they are shopping.

The new findings were discussed at Adobe’s ‘Differentiating through Digital’ Breakfast Briefing this morning. Check out the conversation at #AdobeRetail and read the full report here.

About the research

The IDC data presented in this InfoBrief is UK retail focused from the following industry and retail consumer surveys: