Kiosk Solutions Issue 4 - Page 25

opinion: physical vs virtual retail The battle of clicks vs bricks is on and retailers embracing digital have the best chance of winning By Dean Ward, co-owner and technical director at Evoke Creative, The high street is still locked in a battle for survival, and earlier this year suffered its second major casualty since the financial crisis of 2008 and collapse of Woolworths. The demise of BHS, another British institution, and the loss of some 164 stores and 11,000 jobs is an unfortunate example of a retailer not adapting to an evolving landscape, and not reacting to demanding consumer expectations. The conduct of those running BHS has grabbed the media spotlight, but it was the retailer’s failure to embrace digital technology, investing in store design and improving the customer experience that really consigned it to history. Shoppers now have more choice than ever before as to how, when and where they make their purchases. Poorly laid out stores, devoid of engaging digital technology can’t compete with the speed and convenience of online shopping. Catering to all Customers, especially the younger generation, members of generation-Z, have grown so used to technology that seamlessly blends into their day-to-day lives, that its absence is both alien and immediately apparent. Retailers that do implement digital technology have two distinct challenges. They have to ensure it is so intuitive to use and complementary to the purchasing experience that less tech-savvy shoppers find it a help, as opposed to a hindrance. But they also need to create retail theatre for the younger generation, by implementing technology that’s eyecatching, fun and engaging. One retailer meeting this test head on is JD Sports Fashion. Far from closing stores and beating a retreat from the high street, the Bury-headquartered firm has never looked stronger. Reporting a KIOSK solutions 25