Published Tuesday 10th August 2021

The shift towards online retail has been widely reported, especially over the course of the last 12 months. According to the IMRG Capgemini Online Retail Index, the UK’s online retail sales grew a staggering 36 percent year-on-year in 2020, the highest growth since 2007.

With so many businesses posting record online sales and online-only companies across all sectors, from cardmakers Moonpig to clothes retailers Asos, posting surging revenues, it can be easy to see online as an easy win for companies.

However, with such large and promising growth comes an increase in competition. As people become more accustomed to doing their shopping online, more importance will be placed on customer experience as the differentiator.

Modern technologies look set to usher in a new era of online retail – it’s more important than ever that businesses make sure their online stores are up to standard if they wish to keep relying on digital consumers in the future.

Understanding Modern Retail Purchase Decisions

Picture the high street 20 or 30 years ago. Before the boom of online shopping, there were many different factors that went into consumer behaviour and purchase decisions – location, price, customer service, even the look and feel of a store. However, the relatively early stages of the online evolution have simplified this process.

Over the last few years, online retail has predominantly been pulled by what many call ‘the Amazon effect’. During this time, many online retail experiences looked and felt largely the same, so many purchase decisions were driven by two factors:

  • Price
  • Convenience
The Impact of 5G and Augmented Reality on Retail

Of course, moments like this in the online space have come and gone before without major change. However, two developing technologies are now becoming mainstream enough to make an impact in online retail.

An increasing amount of online purchases are now being made on mobile devices. Previously, the nature of these devices and their connection to the internet was a limiter, but with the roll-out of 5G, the possibilities for online experiences are likely to dramatically increase.

Technology like 5G (and superfast fibre broadband) pave the way for technologies such as augmented reality (AR) to make more of an impact on digital experiences.

One of the biggest downsides to the online experience is visualisation. Buying something online previously wasn’t as reliable as seeing it with your own eyes. However, AR technology allows products to be transposed into the shopper’s environment.

There are many potential uses for AR technology, including:

  • Trying on clothes and makeup digitally.
  • Viewing to-scale furniture before purchasing.
  • Trying a new colour paint or wallpaper.
    • With new smartphones now having AR technology as standard, having these additional features is quickly becoming the norm.

      More engaging consumer experiences will allow for new levels of differentiation in the increasingly busy space of online retail. These developments provide an incredible opportunity for businesses seeking to establish their digital stores, making post-COVID a great time to invest in technology.

      Here at Expense Reduction Analysts, we’ve been helping many major online retailers during the pandemic. With expertise in key areas such as packaging, distribution and technology, why not speak to our team today and see how we could help you?