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Legacy tech hinders high street: Employees struggle to keep up with consumers

Shoppers can access more information than 7 in 10 retail staff, damaging loyalty to stores

Fujitsu UK & Ireland

News facts:

  • 7 in 10 employees admit shoppers can get more info than them, with 72% saying they get it faster
  • 65% of staff use their own device on the shop floor, despite security and privacy risks
  • 6 in 10 consumers say in-store tech impacts their loyalty
  • 83% of staff want a greater say on technology implemented
London, June 20, 2017

The gap between online and in-store technology means that customers can access more information than staff, according to 7 in 10 UK retail employees. Nearly three quarters also say shoppers can access information more quickly, according to the data collected for the Fujitsu research, The Forgotten Shop Floor.

Retailers are at risk of not only missing out on potential revenue, but even losing customers as a result of poor in-store technology; 61% of consumers say the quality of in-store technology impacts their loyalty, while 79% say a positive experience would make them likely to spend more in-store.

To bridge the gap with shoppers, employees are being forced to use their own devices, with two-thirds (65%) using their own technology at work, despite the associated security and privacy risks. Key issues are the availability and speed of services, as two thirds of employees say there isn’t enough technology for the team (66%).

Half of employees say the main stumbling block is that in-store systems are slow, while over a third (37%) say that it’s quicker to do their jobs without using the technology on offer. Consumers are not getting good service as a result, with 41% saying they often experience poor technology.

“There is a sharp divide between retailers’ online and in-store experience,” said Rupal Karia, Managing Director, Retail and Hospitality, Fujitsu UK & Ireland. “Over the past decade, retailers have invested in ecommerce platforms ahead of in-store technology. Now employees lack access to the same level of information as the customers they serve, leaving them trailing behind and customers disenfranchised. Technology can enable staff to make transactions faster and slicker, as well as advising the customer – ultimately, delivering the exceptional, personalised in-store experience consumers demand.”

Despite a lack of access, staff are overwhelmingly positive in their attitude to technology, almost all (98%) say that the introduction of new in-store technology has had a positive impact on their role. Employees are also clear that technology helps retailers succeed; nine in ten (90%) say that it has helped their store to grow, while 88% would like the organisation to invest in more for them. In fact, the vast majority (83%) of employees want to shape technology in their organisation and say that they and their colleagues should have a say on what is implemented.

“The high street absolutely still holds a place in consumers’ hearts, but it’s up to retailers to meet shoppers’ expectations,” continued Karia. “Shoppers want physical channels that are engaging, personalised and hassle-free, and employees are absolutely able and willing to deliver that – if they are equipped with the right digital tools.

“The store holds more and greater opportunities than ever, but only for retailers that are prepared to embrace the digital pace of change. Now is the time to invest in the store, to give consumers the experience they want before they know they want it. Otherwise stores risk being the latest generation of retailers to be pushed out of the high street, for good.”

Notes to editors

Data for this study on in-store technology was gathered by Coleman Parkes, an independent research consultancy. 1,000 consumers and 1,000 employees from retailers with an annual turnover of £25m+ from across the United Kingdom took part in an online survey between December 2016 and January 2017.

A note on “in-store technology”

To keep respondents focused on new and upcoming systems and services, we asked them to answer with the following interpretation of “in-store technology” in mind: “in-store technologies should be defined as mobile tablets, mobile points of sale (excluding static till points), smart checkouts, digital enquiry point, self-checkouts, mobile stock monitoring applications and devices.”

Statistics of interest

  • 70% of employees admit customers can sometimes access more information than them using their own devices, and 72% say consumers can access information more quickly
  • The main barriers to employees using in-store technology are that there isn’t enough technology for the team (66%), it is slow (50%) and it's quicker to just get on with their job without using all of the technology on offer (37%)
  • 65% of employees use their own device on the shop floor to do their job more effectively
  • Consumers see the main role of the high street as browsing for products (49%) and the instore experience (30%)
  • 79% of consumers say a more positive experience of in-store tech (like personalised vouchers) would make them more likely to spend more money in store
  • 75% of consumers believe that if Amazon or eBay had a physical store, they would quickly become their preferred place to shop
  • The most popular instore technologies that consumers would like to see introduced are personalised offers sent instore (45%), smart mirrors (33%) and stores delivering purchases directly to their car through IoT (24%). Many consumers would also like to see VR technology (22%) and advanced biometric payments (19%)

About Fujitsu

Fujitsu is the leading Japanese information and communication technology (ICT) company, offering a full range of technology products, solutions and services. Approximately 155,000 Fujitsu people support customers in more than 100 countries. We use our experience and the power of ICT to shape the future of society with our customers. Fujitsu Limited (TSE: 6702) reported consolidated revenues of 4.5 trillion yen (US$40 billion) for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2017. For more information, please see http://www.fujitsu.com.

About Fujitsu in the UK & Ireland

Fujitsu employs over 14,000 people in the UK & Ireland, with total revenues exceeding £1.8 billion. Offering an integrated product and service portfolio, we deliver consulting, applications, technology products, systems integration and managed services, including cloud-based solutions, for customers across both public and private sectors, including retail, financial services, telecoms, government, defence and consumer IT. For more information, please see http://uk.fujitsu.com.

Emily Thurston

Phone: Phone: + 44 (0) 20 7861 2839
E-mail: E-mail: teamfujitsu@harvard.co.uk

Graham Goulden

Phone: Phone: + 44 (0) 843 354 9568
E-mail: E-mail: graham.goulden@uk.fujitsu.com
Company:Fujitsu UK & Ireland

Date: 20 June, 2017
City: London