What’s trending: #futuretech

Zapper in action

With Amazon’s new people-less automatic store viewed as either the start of world domination, or just a glorified vending machine, technology is certain to touch every aspect of retail in the near future – so what do the data and tech challenges of 2017 mean to local retailers?

Keith Fernie: Director at David’s Kitchen

Keith Fernie “The concept of stores that just scan and debit as you leave was science fiction not so long ago, Now one exists in Seattle. I’m not sure how smoothly it runs, but it’s taken someone like Amazon to get it up and running. How far away is the automatic store? I don’t know. There will always be something that needs a real person to handle, be it alcohol, tobacco or lottery, or just to help. People are now very comfortable with machine transactions, so whole idea of automatic retail is very much more acceptable. I think in future it could reduce staff depending on the spectrum of items offered for sale.”


Eamonn de Valera: Director, Navarra Retail Systems

Eamonn DeValera“Retail technology has evolved dramatically over the years. With its back office, payment systems, direct link ordering and many other features it is a must for any progressive retailer. Media screens, smart refrigeration, LED lighting and electronic shelf labels all make your store more efficient while improving your customers experience. Web sites and social media allow you to engage with your customers to drive your business forward. History tells us that those who best adapt to change prosper while those who don’t get left behind. Embrace technology.”


Steve O’Neill: Director at PayPoint

Steve O'Neill“Only 41% of convenience retailers offer contactless and we believe contactless payments will increase at a significant rate as businesses update their technology offering in an increasingly digital retail environment. Similarly, adoption of EPoS is going to be key to success in the sector. Over one in three (36%) local retailers say that having enhanced technology and a better understanding of their customers is their biggest opportunity for growth. Currently, only half of all convenience stores have an EPoS system and we expect this to increase exponentially in 2017.”


Shabaz Ali: Owner at Costcutter in Falkirk

Shabaz Ali“I don’t consider myself particularly techie, but we all use it. I was actually having a WhatsApp chat yet said I don’t use social media! That’s how much tech and digital systems have become embedded in our lives. We’re using these systems far more than we think. It might be an ATM or a selfie, it doesn’t matter: we’re all becoming digitally native. What that means for retail in the future is that, whether we think about it or not, we’ll be talking to our customers and our suppliers through channels that will be second nature. The key is to make what we say worth listening to.”