Embracing digital: an opportunity for better jobs
Retail Technology The parameters of UK retail are changing at an ever-increasing rate. At the centre of this structural shift lies a digital transformation that is impacting how we shop, the way businesses operate and the skillsets they require.
In many cases, the pace that consumers are embracing new technologies is pushing the boundaries of retailers, landlords and local authorities – both to innovate and cater for an increasingly sophisticated and informed buyer. During the last 10 years there has been a significant shift in shopping channels used by consumers. The ever-connected consumer has transparency of pricing, quality and service at their disposal at all times. They are increasingly searching for an online shopping experience, with similar touchpoints, in the physical high street environment.
"Change in retail's workforce is inevitable as the digital revolution reshapes the industry."
- Helen Dickinson OBE
Fundamentally though, successful retailing will always be about understanding the customer and those who do it well are using technology and specifically data to drive developments in how they understand their customers.
The challenge lies in how retailers navigate the complexities presented by digital disruption in a time of such profound change. Whilst new technologies provide an opportunity for retailers to reinvent their industry and competitive model for lasting advantage, it raises the question of what skills are needed in an increasingly digitally led environment.
Significant change in the retail workforce is inevitable as the digital revolution reshapes the industry and the costs of labour versus technology become more divergent. Sixty per cent of retail jobs are at high risk of automation in the next twenty years, higher than any other industry. Crucially however, the growth in digital and technological developments will also make better jobs possible. Jobs which are more productive, more rewarding and fit for the future.