9 tech trends that will have the biggest impact on UK high streets in 2018

| January 20, 2018 | By

Post-transactional marketing, the power of basket data and machine learning –  just three mobile-led trends to emerge in 2017. As the year draws to an end, the team at Yoyo make their predictions on which tech trends will have the biggest impact on UK high streets in 2018.

9 tech trends that will have the biggest impact on UK high streets in 2018

1. Retailers will finally harness the power of their own basket data

For some time now, we’ve been saying that adding value to the customer experience is imperative to the survival of the high street. Figures published throughout 2017 have screamed high street demise and retailers need to take action in 2018 if they are to survive.

Not looking far from home, all high street retailers are sitting on a mountain of basket data that could be their saving grace, if they would but harness it. By tapping into the point-of-sale through a simple transaction API, retailers can gain access to full SKU basket data and  find out who their customers are, what they’re buying and when.

With this basket data insight, retailers could create a complete end-to-end mobile transaction experience, with loyalty points/stamp collection and instant rewards, as well as itemised digital receipts, delivered to every customer in a single moment – creating a fully immersed in-store experience.

One retailer, who took full advantage of their basket data this year was Vietnamese fast food chain HOP, which wanted to increase the frequency of purchases on a slow business day – Tuesdays. Through basket data insight, in 2017 the fast food chain created a campaign that offered double loyalty points to all customers who came in on that day.

Activity on a Tuesday for the month after the campaign launched looked very different: Unique customers increased by 85%, transactions went up 51% and revenue increased by 61%. 

We predict many more retailers will follow HOP’s example in 2018.

Alain Falys – co-founder and chairman at Yoyo

2. “Post-transactional marketing” is going to be the next big thing for retail campaigns

Consumers are now looking for a more rewarding retail experience on the high street that goes beyond a fast way to pay for goods. As well as creating more engaging loyalty and CRM programmes, the high street needs to take customers on a positive payment journey that goes beyond the checkout if it is to combat the onslaught of e-commerce.

This Christmas, we’ve seen high street coffee chain Caffè Nero embark on a first-of-its kind post-transactional marketing campaign, which is rewarding app users with digital prize-filled Christmas Crackers every time they buy their usual hot drinks.

Massively increasing engagement levels with the brand, this post-transactional marketing campaign takes the surprise and delight idea to the next level for retailers – app customers gain a “more than just payment” experience and are rewarded just for going about their daily business.

Expect post-transactional marketing campaigns to explode across a high street near you in 2018.

Michael Rolph – co-founder and CEO at Yoyo

3. Culture and infrastructure will catch up with AI and machine learning in 2018

Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, Neural Networks, Deep Learning – these topics have been central to nearly every conversation around tech throughout 2017, but there has so far been few practical examples of the impact they’re having on our daily lives. Why? Both culture and infrastructure have not quite caught up just yet.

This will change in 2018. Take AI. A recent Gartner survey showed that 59% of organisations are now gathering information to build their AI strategies, while the remainder are making progress in piloting or adopting AI solutions.

One of the few early adopters to get it right was “online robot lawyer” DoNotPay, which created a chatbot ‘who’ managed to overturn 160,000 parking tickets and now is helping refugees claim asylum!

Ali Minaei – chief technology officer at Yoyo

4. The Internet of Things will become “smart”

There’s been a lot of talk about the rise of “smart devices”. A more accurate term would actually be “connected devices” – as most are simply just connected to the internet. But now, we’re going into 2018 with more powerful hardware and software to create truly smart devices.

And yes, consumers are already talking to the likes of Amazon Echo and Siri, but at present it’s more a new fad rather than a totally necessity of life. 2018 is going to see smart technology become super smart through the power of machine learning and AI.

The big question to arise will be whether augmenting all this human activity will start replacing people in the workplace?

Min Teo – VP, finance at Yoyo

5. Open Banking is about to change the entire banking and retail experience for consumers

From 13 January, the UK’s Open Banking framework will allow trusted third parties to access bank account information, including balances and transactions, and even make payments on behalf of the account holder.

The benefits? It’s too early to set anything in stone, but expect to see a flurry of apps offering to keep tabs on your spending by categorising and grouping all your debit card transactions together. There could also be a way to have a single view of all your finances, and credit scoring could more accurately reflect your financial situation in real time.

As for loyalty, look no further than Yoyo’s new partnership with Starling Bank. The challenger bank’s customers can now automatically reap the benefits of retailer-specific loyalty programmes every time they use their Starling payment card in Yoyo-accepting high street stores. It’s a great example of how Open Banking will make getting rewards and offers from your favourite retailers even easier than it is today.

David Nicholson – co-founder and VP, strategic partnerships at Yoyo

6. The importance of brand experiences will outweigh brand values

For the last few years, the default answer to enhancing brand exposure has been a fairly curious one: don’t sell a product, sell a purpose. While it’s led to some great work and memorable campaigns from the likes of Dove and Chipotle, in 2017 we’ve had Kendall Jenner solving race relations in the US with a can of Pepsi, Heineken cracking a multitude of social issues via a fresh cold one, and even McDonalds selling Fillet-o-Fish via a dead dad.

Whilst brands have spent the last few years gazing into the horizon with a glassy-eyed, heroic stare, the devices in the hands of consumers have been becoming incredibly sophisticated. One of big boys that stole a march on the competition in this regard was Dominos, which used the smartphone to make it easier for consumers to buy their product via an ordering and payment app.

The results are in the numbers, with pre-tax profits up 18% in the two years since the branded app was launched, and 49% of all ecommerce sales coming through the app.

CMOs and marketing directors planning their upcoming activity for 2018 will need to take pause and ask themselves a few key questions. Consider your creative agency and media buying costs, and then the new mediums that money could take you into; Think about your consumers and the ways they interact and experience your products; And if you are anchored to a mission-led approach, be sure to ask yourself ‘why bother with ‘why’?’

Andy Wray – marketing VP at Yoyo

7. If you’re not ready for GDPR, you’re in trouble

2018 is going to be the year of regulation – with PSD2 and GDPR having widespread implications across the retail industry. With the deadline for compliance looming (25 May 2018), retailers should already have mechanisms in place before GDPR becomes UK law.

Consent, security and access rights – these will be among the most important requirements that retailers will need to address when handling customer’s data in a safer, more open and secure way, given the intrinsic value of customer identity, as well as the disastrous repercussions should this data fall into the wrong hands.

Katarina Hartikainen – data protection officer at Yoyo

8. The problem of talent acquisition in the tech sector looms

The fall in the value of the pound, general uncertainty and reports that say the the number of foreign tech job applications have halved since the referendum result, suggests EU tech workers are already looking away from the UK for jobs.

At the same time, there is a considerable chance that UK citizens will be more reluctant to move jobs as fears grow of an economic downturn ahead of Brexit. A recruitment shortage is staring the tech industry squarely in the face, and the industry will need to come up with new ways to entice the best and brightest in 2018.

As well as a strong role and a good salary, the tech industry will need to provide an enticing recruitment experience in 2018. Companies will need to target their job descriptions to meet the demands of the millennial – they’ll value development over the ping pong table. And remember, we’re not all Google –  firms will need to keep the rounds of interviews to a minimum and spin them quickly – good candidates won’t wait!

Clare Mullen – head of people and talent at Yoyo

9. The real value of loyalty marketing will be recognised

For many retailers, loyalty is currently an unknown cost with questionable value. 2018 will see the view of loyalty marketing within high street retail completely redefined – something that even CEOs will become excited about.

Why? Because the costs of loyalty can now be measured and the value of the loyalty marketing on a company’s bottom line can be quantified.

Take our Christmas Cracker campaign for Caffe Nero. It’s only been running for four weeks, and has already seen average spend increase by 11%, unique customers rise by 13% and visit frequency increase by 14%.

Retailers can now have the ability to see their most valuable customers by spend, visits, campaign engagement or even the consumption of a particular product. What CEO wouldn’t get excited about having this kind of insight and ability?

Dom Povey – head of product at Yoyo