Digital Economy Minister, Ed Vaizey, recently wrote an article about the future of digital strategy, seeking input from businesses around what can be done to ensure that the UK remains at the heart of digital innovation. We wanted to share our opinion from a retail perspective.
We are a business working at the heart of retail. In our view, building a long-term strategy with digital policy at the core will be crucial to all customer engagements of the future, be that in government, health, education, business or retail. It will impact every aspect of people’s daily life. This shift is already happening with 76% of adults in Britain owning a smartphone and checking them over one billion times a day. (Source: Deloitte Consulting). Younger generations are increasingly technology dependent and therefore policy planners need to provide flexible frameworks for the future.
What needs to be done in the UK digital strategy?
- People literally have the power at their fingertips through their smartphone handsets and are willing and able to self-serve in order to access information, services and offers. Therefore it is important to ensure better communication links to provide excellent web access and connectivity. In retail, this means good Wi-Fi coverage on the high street and across transport networks around shopping areas to keep the ‘high street’ alive and to be a hub of activity for people in their daily lives.
- Encouraging the deployment of new technologies such as beacons to widen the reach for local businesses and independent traders as well as established bigger players will play an important part.
- Investment in training is essential to build social skills to improve one to one customer service in the digital age, as well as in the use of digital technologies as they emerge.
- There will also be a need for more diverse technical skills training, cybersecurity layers and a requirement for better investment incentives for continuous and rapid technology development to keep the UK at the forefront of innovation.
- Consumers need to be able to trust the networks, technology and staff that they are dealing with across all channels and therefore strong codes of conduct and data security must be a fundamental part of future change. Integrity and accountability are critical to achieving success.
What’s your view? Let us know what you see as crucial to the future digital strategy.