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Retailers missing out on £12bn due to "lack of digital know-how"

UK retailers are missing out on £12bn in potential sales because they are failing to engage consumers through digital channels, a new report has suggested.

According to a poll conducted by retail analysts Conlumino, on behalf of network provider O2, many retailers are struggling to harness the digital technologies that can enhance customer experiences.

The study found that 50 per cent of all purchases are now influenced by digital channels such as mobile apps and social media in addition to retailers own websites.

A total of 93 per cent of respondents described many aspects of the digital shopping experience as frustrating.

However, 15 per cent of the consumers quizzed admitted that they do not use digital methods to interact with shops and/or brands.

The report also found that just 40 per cent of retailers recognise that digital engagement helps drive sales, which is a low figure considering the majority of consumers say they use digital channels for some aspect of shopping.

In addition, around 20 per cent have trouble integrating new channels like social media and apps with existing technologies and only 31 per cent use social media tools to engage and understand their customers.

Ben Dowd, O2 business director, said, “Smartphone penetration is expected to reach 90 per cent in the next three years.

"Retailers that don’t act now risk missing out on huge sales potential. The findings reveal just how crucial digital engagement has become for retailers when it comes to stealing a march against the competition.”

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