We’re certainly not post-Covid, but things are feeling more normal. As a result, Ian Cairns of TalkTalk asks if have we reached the point of no return on tech?
We know that ‘digital transformation’ – as a phrase and as a concept – is nothing new. Hark back to the heady pre-pandemic days of 2019, and it was already a little dated.
You know that consumers are moving online. And that your digital offering is critical. And that you need to make the bricks to clicks experience totally seamless. At TalkTalk Business, we’re concerned about what supports and powers all that. The infrastructure. You may think that’s the CTO’s concern, but increasingly commercial and reputational success depends on the very fibre (and occasionally, copper) that’s keeping your business connected. So, it’s time to get a little more technical.
When you take a look at how far the retail industry has come in terms of technology, it seems like we’ve reached ‘the point of no return on tech.’ It’s table stakes. Digital solutions are just… expected, so add no excitement or engagement or value. Gone are the days of digital strategy being a nice-to-have or unique selling point.
Digital solutions and customer loyalty come hand in hand, a trend that we all know has been accelerated by the pandemic.
That’s why we think that having a best in class digital infrastructure is the new competitive edge. That next layer down is the new frontier in differentiation.
Let’s face it, the retail industry is a mighty saturated one. Awash with competitors, no matter how niche your offering is. To stand out in such a crowded market, the key is not just to offer your customers an ace product – but to make the buying experience smooth and efficient, and one that surprises and delights.
To make the most of what technology has to offer the retail world, it’s time to drill down a little deeper than simply setting up an e-commerce site. Now’s the time to take things to the next level, with a future-proof digital infrastructure that can offer solutions that are as exciting as they are efficient. You want something that can do the full shebang, and ideally, from a provider that’s trusted and experienced (ahem). This is how you’ll stay relevant and in demand. This is how you’ll cut through the competition. In other words, may the best infrastructure win.
Why retail needs the full monty
Cloud services, in particular, are helping the retail industry to adapt and evolve in a whole host of ways. From slashing the cost of complex tech infrastructure and increasing storage capacity to giving real-time access to inventory and operational data – the list goes on.
Retailers are expected to manage huge volumes of data. Everything from sensitive transaction information and personal customer details to stock level inventories and staff records has to be stored somewhere. And that somewhere needs to be a virtual space that’s vast, cost-effective and secure. Data centres have the resilience, scalability and security to effectively handle retailers’ needs.
But it’s not just what a top-notch infrastructure can do behind the scenes that makes having one so valuable. It’s also about how the perfect infrastructure can enhance the in-store experiences of your customers and staff. A robust digital solution will give your store the types of offerings that customers not only prefer these days, but expect. That’s everything from contactless payments and refunds, self-serving kiosks, voice commerce solutions, virtual try before you buy apps and mobile device loyalty programs.
Out with the old…
Legacy networks simply aren’t designed to deliver the on-demand experience modern-day retail requires. Not only are the expectations different, but so is the traffic, the applications and the load. As the Full Fibre rollout continues apace, now is the perfect time to take stock of your network, and reassess whether it’s meeting your current and future needs.
Remember, your business is only as successful as the technology that underpins it, and that technology is only as successful as the connectivity it relies on.
In our new whitepaper, How To Get One Step Ahead: Surviving The Retail Transformation, we discuss some of the key trends in retail tech, why the network is such an increasingly critical piece of infrastructure for retailers, and how to ensure your business has the right foundation in place to scale.
Read it here.
NB: The publication of this article was sponsored by TalkTalk.