Belfast Telegraph

Friday 18 April 2014

Time to get tech savvy

Daniel Loughlin, of e-commerce firm Export Technologies, on what 2014 holds in store

Daniel Loughlin, of e-commerce firm Export Technologies

Every year we see an ever increasing reliance on technology – in the way we work, live and in how we shop.

As we use more complex technology to sell online a new skill requirement has been created to manage it. In the past, retailing involved purchasing stock and selling it in your shop, with the event of online selling retailers needing to have an online marketing specialist, a photographer, a social media manager, legislation and Vat procedures and so on.

This trend towards complexity will continue into 2014 as retailers will not only have to manage all of the above, but also having to maintain general rules for business success. While there will be changes in how retailers sell, many things will still remain the same. There will continue to be competition, having the right product selection, keeping customers happy and making margins remain essential – while keeping an eye on the fast changing technology space. We predict that multichannel selling, an approach which uses technology to combine all the channels available to the retailer, will see a significant increase across the board. Customers want to have more options available to them when they shop – be it ordering by mobile or desktop, delivery, or picking up in store. This will see a rise in smaller high street players adopting a multichannel offering including 'Click & Collect' service, making it not solely the domain of larger retailers such as Argos, John Lewis and M&S.

For our own clients in online retailing, we saw growth rates from Christmas 2013 vs 2012 averaging a 35% growth. Like all retail, online success in 2014 will depend on the market, the strategy, the internet trading agreements, the people – but it will also be ever more dependent on the technology employed in an increasingly multichannel and complex retail world.

Customers want to have more options available when they shop, be it ordering by mobile, desktop, delivery or in store