Helen Dickinson has already had a busy day helping the Digital High Street Advisory Board unveil plans to revitalise Britain’s struggling town centres.
But despite the fatigue the director general of the British Retail Consortium is still enthused by the new 5-year strategy aimed at introducing digital technologies into the high street to improve the competitiveness of SMEs and independent businesses.
“It is about enhancing digital skills in more local communities,” she said. “The technology currently being used by many small high street retailers is not competitive and many face the risk of being left behind. They need more guidance, more examples of best practice and help building that expertise. We need a coalition of the willing.”
The report highlights the difference between small and international firms spending millions of pounds on digital investments to meet the changing habits of today’s shoppers. It is believed that 60% of British adults use a mobile or tablet computer to do online shopping on the move.
“The main retail trend at the moment is mobile, mobile, mobile. Shoppers are using it not only to transact, but to search and to order click and collect,” Dickinson said. “Consumers will continue to want more and retailers have to deliver against these expectations.”
But this is not a bad big business Goliath and heroic small business David story. The report makes recommendations which will benefit both large and small retailers alike.
Indeed the chairman of The Digital High Street Advisory Board is John Walden, chief executive of FTSE listed Home Retail Group – owner of Argos and Homebase.
Next in the digital empire series we find out how the UK and the UK are leading the way in digital trading…