As the dust settles on London Tech Week, one thing is clear: the UK is the epicentre of a technological boom.
Being British and part of the technology industry, it’s very affirming to hear your home nation is leading the way when it comes to digital innovation.
An interesting City AM article points out that London’s position is unique; it has the technical heart of Silicon Valley, the policy making capabilities of Washington DC, and the financial prowess of New York City.
Add to this a number of government-backed schemes to recruit new talent, and it’s easy to see why technology has become the fastest growing sector of the UK economy.
As exciting as this is, though, there are challenges ahead for today’s digital start-ups. While there is support and funding in place at embryonic stage, businesses will continue to need support as they grow and expand – including finding developers, programmers, marketers and operational decision makers, to secure long-term success.
Even more importantly, blossoming technology companies face the challenge of educating the market on the value of its offering – a market that doesn’t always move at the pace of London’s Tech Week ambassadors.
The truth is, while the UK capital might be blazing a trail for the digital next generation, most businesses are still grappling with existing technological capabilities.
Ecommerce is a great example of this. European ecommerce is predicted to grow 12.5% to €477 billion in 2015, yet many retailers are still struggling to unite their offerings across all channels.
It’s not uncommon for online demand to impact availability in the store, or for customers to experience vastly different loyalty schemes depending where they shop – yet both of these issues can be solved with a multi-channel ecommerce platform.
Even getting the basic product offering displayed appropriately is a mountain to climb in today’s multi-device retail environment; there’s nothing more deterring from a consumer’s perspective, than accessing a website from your smartphone, only to find it’s not optimised for mobile traffic.
iVend’s ambition has always been to help retailers improve customer experiences through the use of technology – whether that’s in the store, online or across multiple channels. Though we are constantly seeking to push the boundaries on digital engagement, we also realise that there are still several steps between where the retail industry would like to be, and the realities of where we are now. There’s a long way to go before the cutting-edge innovations we saw in the capital last week become mainstream.
Right off the back of London Tech Week, key industry figures will be heading to eTail Europe this week. It will be interesting to see where retail experts pitch their discussions in terms of technology and the customer experience.