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Knowledge of technology needed to maximise retail opportunity

It’s no secret that retailers have invested heavily in their online presence over the past 10 years and now consumers expect to be able to buy goods at home, at work or on the move.

Because this has formed much of the trend in the sector, clients are focusing on their ‘omnichannel’ retail strategy to ensure the experience in-store and online is as similar as possible, blurring the lines between the high street and the internet.

Increasing digitalisation

Now brands are evaluating how technology can be used in-store to offer similar levels of convenience as online shopping does.

It is also helping chains to maximise service lines in smaller shops, allowing them to increase the number of convenience stores in their property estate and move away from the out-of-town superstore.

Digitalisation is set to have a dramatic impact on the design of refurbishment schemes, with projects requiring greater end-to-end management.

“Digitalisation is set to have a dramatic impact on the design of refurbishment schemes with projects requiring greater end-to-end management”

Things like installing tablet devices at in-store customer service desks are becoming increasingly common.

The devices can be used for click-and-collect, where customers can collect shopping they have reserved online, or for shoppers to buy out-of-stock goods for home delivery through the store’s website.

The retail banking space is using the same technology to increase self-service in branches, allowing staff to focus on appointments and customer advice.

It also allows banks to quickly advertise new services and deals to customers without having to spend money on new printed marketing materials and avoid the additional challenges in doing so.

To this end, they will regularly reviewing the design of the branch and how space is used to ensure that adverts are visible.

New skills required

This is creating new opportunities and challenges for refurbishment specialists.

More projects require installation of IT and associated fixtures, as well as the technical know-how to connect the devices.

Along with the nuts-and-bolts delivery, clients are also asking contractors to support further change management, including liaising with a central IT team to hook up the devices to the network and staff training so the devices are used to their full potential.

“Contractors need to add new technology specialists to their supply chain or train staff to be able to deliver this new breed of refurbishment programme”

That requires a new skillset. Savvy contractors that can offer an end-to-end service are in a position to maximise their work.

Clients are increasingly looking to engage with the suppliers that can offer a full change implementation service.

This means contractors need to add new technology specialists to their supply chain or train staff to be able to deliver this new breed of refurbishment programme.

Digitalisation is likely to be one of the tactics used by retailers to maintain the numbers of service lines in shops while downsizing.

Contractors will soon have to be poised to deliver technology-focused store refurbishments to compete for future framework opportunities in the sector.

Andy Shaw is operations director at property services group Styles & Wood

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