Top 10 retail IT stories of 2013

Smart retailers are realising they must adopt a multi-channel approach to their business, making instore, online, and mobile a seamless experience for the customer

The retail industry has continued to struggle with technology over the past 12 months. With major high street brands including HMV, Jessops and Blockbusters going into administration, the UK high street is seeing more closing down sales and boarded up windows. And some casualties are pointing the finger of blame at the rise of e-commerce.

But smart retailers are realising they must adopt a multi-channel approach to their business, making in-store, online, and mobile a seamless experience for the customer.

Additionally, retailers are starting to embrace technology in their stores to encourage consumers to return to the high street. From augmented reality and digital price tags, to the less flashy yet arguably fundamental service of offering W-Fi to the customers. Instead of fearing customers will use their smartphone to comparison shop, retailers which are rolling out Wi-Fi for customer use are reaping the value of customer data.

Read Computer Weekly's top retail IT stories from 2013 here:

1. High street stores embrace digital to entice customers

Customers are using technology in favour of the high street, but some stores are fighting fire with fire and implementing technology in-store to entice customers to shop in-store, rather than online.

2. Photo story: Argos becomes a digital retailer

Argos has unveiled its first digital concept store in London, as part of the retailer’s aim to become a digital retailer over the next four-and-a-half years.

3. John Lewis seeks out innovation from technology startups

John Lewis has been investing in technology innovation from startup companies to keep ahead of the game in the changing landscape of the UK high street.

4. Interview: Matt Atkinson, CMO, Tesco

Tesco's chief marketing officer, Matt Atkinson, talks about his successful relationship with his CIO, both of whom have worked together to build out the retailer's engaging multi-channel customer journey, using customer data.

5. CW500 video: Retail IT – The high street versus the internet

Graham Benson, IT director at M and M Direct, reveals the effect e-commerce and the rise of the internet has had on business in this presentation to Computer Weekly's 500 Club for IT leaders.

6. CW500 video: Sarah Venning, John Lewis

Computer Weekly talks to Sarah Venning, from John Lewis, about how the retailer is meeting the challenges of change and technology disruption, and what other industry sectors can learn from it. 

7. The pros and cons of putting Wi-Fi into high street stores

As the high street fights the tide of online shopping, retailers have adopted the "digital store" model – but there are drawbacks for some.

8. Coast, Oasis and Warehouse drive retail innovation using iPads and Wi-Fi

Clothing retailers Coast, Oasis and Warehouse have experimented with in-store iPads and Wi-Fi to improve customer experience and cut costs.

9. Online retailing means the industrialisation of analytics

Online retailing requires a new type of action-oriented business intelligence, according to Michael Ross, eCommera chief scientist and founder of online lingerie retailer Figleaves. The former McKinsey consultant and Cambridge maths graduate contends that e-commerce will thrive to the extent that it industrialises the knowledge work performed by data scientists or analysts.

10. M&S uses in-store IT to train staff in multi-channel retail

Marks & Spencer is using in-store iPads and kiosks to train staff to support its multi-channel retail strategy.

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