How UK stores are leading the way in digital transformation

UK retailers have embraced digital technology in a big way. Here are the trends we’ve spotted, and how we can help you to keep up.

Article by David Leggetter | 6th June 2023

Stores are facing new challenges, and digital technology has become a key part of the effort to overcome them. Where retailers once struggled to keep up with other industries, they are now at the cutting edge of digital transformation.  Here’s how stores are embracing the digital revolution, and how VoCoVo can help with the transition. 


The rise of Click & Collect

At VoCoVo, we always try to keep an eye on current and future trends. Sometimes these are unexpected, but many are extensions of existing changes in the industry. Click & Collect is the perfect example of this. 

The service was already growing steadily before 2020, but the pandemic supercharged its adoption. 30% of shoppers increased their use of Click & Collect, and the proportion of stores offering the service rose to 80%


As things returned to normal, many expected its popularity to wane. Instead, it has gone from strength to strength. Click & Collect now accounts for 8% of all UK retail spending and is worth £42 billion a yearfour times as much as experts predicted in 2018. 


Self-service becomes the norm

The checkout process is another area that’s ripe for innovation. While there’s a lot of excitement about high-tech anti-fraud measures and the use of micro-donations to encourage charitable giving, the most lasting change could be something much simpler.

Self-service is another pandemic technology that has outlived the pandemic. Three quarters of shoppers used self-checkouts in 2020, and a similar proportion planned to keep doing so afterwards


These customers have stayed true to their word. Self-checkouts have become ubiquitous, with even Aldi adopting the technology after years of holding out. Now, with new technology paving the way for automated ID checks, the age of the self-checkout may just be beginning. 


Smart technology is here to stay

The UK population is highly tech-savvy, and this means that retailers are well-positioned to take advantage of smart-technologies. 57% of UK homes now contain at least one smart device, and 80% of UK adults use smart technology for entertainment purposes. 

Unsurprisingly, this enthusiasm for all things smart has bled into the retail sphere. A 2021 survey found that two thirds of shoppers want retailers to invest in smart technology in order to improve the customer experience.


Retailers have been happy to oblige, and smart devices have become a common sight in stores. From smart shelving that can track stock levels to smart CCTV cameras that can spot shoplifters, UK stores are now among the smartest in the world. 


Our own research backs this up. Last year, we surveyed 258 senior decision makers from the UK, North America and Europe. We found that UK managers were especially keen on smart technology:

  • 29% have implemented smart video technology
  • 25% are using smart shelving
  • VR and robots are already present in 27% of stores


Download the full report here:


With 64% of decision makers planning to implement more smart technology in the near future, this is a trend that will only continue to grow. 


Embrace the future with VoCoVo

The digital revolution is well underway, but it won’t happen by itself. New technology is no good if colleagues aren’t willing to use it, so it’s vital to involve them in the process. This is where we can help. 


Our headsets are designed to bridge the gap between colleagues and smart devices. Our API offers unlimited smart integrations, allowing the wearer to interact directly with in-store technology. Rather than feeling shut out, colleagues are placed at the very centre of the ecosystem:

  • Colleagues can use headsets to check on Click & Collect orders without walking to the stockroom, saving up to 1.4km of unnecessary walking per shift. 
  • Telephony integration lets you take external calls from the shop floor. Customers can call to check on Click & Collect orders and you can put them straight through to the stockroom. 
  • Headsets can be linked to self-service checkouts, allowing a single colleague to authorise purchases on multiple positions. 
  • Our notification API allows headsets to receive notifications from a wide range of smart devices. Smart shelving can alert colleagues when an item needs restocking, and smart cameras can send automatic alerts to your security team if they spot something suspicious. 


These are just some of the ways that VoCoVo can help you to embrace digital transformation. To find out more, or to arrange a free demonstration, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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