Retailers looks to online services over high street

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The UK shopping high street is on its deathbed, and it seems as the internet is the poison that’s slowly killing them. This is according to a new report by Rackspace, which also says retailers are being forced to change their IT strategies as a result.

The report is based on a poll of 250 IT decision makers in the UK retail industry. It claims that 80 per cent of retailers now place higher priority on online services, rather than on the high street.

Internet might be convenient, but it is also becoming quite crowded, and the competition is growing, it said. As the high street slowly dies, key factors impacting IT strategies include the need to drive more traffic, the need to handle more traffic on a website, the need to deliver a perfect, omnichannel customer experience, and the need to better integrate customer experiences online and in-store. There’s also the need to implement new consumer-facing technologies.

“The growth and dominance of web and mobile channels has led to waning high-street footfall, and the race to transform both the in-store and online experience is putting immense pressure on IT departments,” commented Lee James, EMEA CTO, Rackspace.

“These factors are shifting IT strategies, further complicating the challenges decision makers face in delivering, designing and implementing new highly-secure, bespoke solutions.”

When it comes to specific technologies that the retailers will be turning to in the near future – artificial intelligence takes the lead with 33 per cent of answers, followed by chatbots and virtual / augmented reality.

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