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Important for retailers to innovate effectively

The retail sector is in the midst of the digital revolution, according to Regan Adams, CEO of the RCS Group, a financial services provider in the retail credit market.

“In the next three to five years we’ll see more change in the retail space than we’ve seen in the last few decades combined, Adams said at a recent RCS Retail Summit.

The summit aims to support its business partners by changing the way they look at their business with the view to enhance their customer experience.

RCS has joined forces with Echangeur, the business unit of European consumer finance business BNP Paribas Personal Finance, to bring South African retailers retail and customer experience innovations. RCS is owned by BNP Paribas Personal Finance.

By analysing the latest trends in retail from across the globe Echangeur anticipates the impact on commerce. Its retail shopping network partners include Massmart, Edcon, Pick n Pay and Sanlam.

 “We analyse technological and marketing trends in customer relations in order to anticipate transformations and patterns in the commerce of tomorrow,” says Nicolas Diacono, a technological trends expert for Echangeur.

With some 40 technological partners, 200 business case studies and 12 000 consumers interviewed per year, Echangeur believes retailers need to understand their customers correctly in order to innovate effectively.

The Retail Summit focused on two themes namely Commerce Reloaded and Innovation of Services. The event also included a New Tech Village showroom where attendees were able to test some of the latest technologies from virtual reality to facial recognition technology, and discover how they can be integrated into the retail experience.

The key takeout from the session was the fundamental role that customer experience plays in the retail space, and the importance of investing in this area to distinguish a retailer.

Delegates heard that in a competitive market, price is no longer the only differentiator. It is building and sustaining key customer relationships that will ultimately lead to an increased brand following.

Various trends such as mobile personal assistants, the use of artificial intelligence in-store and drone delivery of product, amongst other innovations, were showcased.

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