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Major retailers say digital strategies will help them increase turnover

A HOST of major retailers, including big names which trade in Scotland, have signalled their expectation turnover will rise this year on the back of investment in their digital strategies.

A survey by property firm CBRE has found 87% of retailers believe the use of technology - ranging from smart phone apps to iPads for ordering items in stores - will lead to a revenue rise.

Some 80% of the 50 retailers surveyed also said they expect their investment in technology to drive footfall into their stores.

CBRE, which has offices in Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow, said its report looks at how much priority retailers attach to technology.

It found 85% of retailers now have a dedicated resource to run their digital strategies, with most operating a transactional website (87%) and using social media sites such as Facebook or Twitter to interact with customers (88%).

More than half (55%) of companies said they have a smart phone app, with 35% confirming they have operate in-store kiosks for browsing and selling goods.

CBRE noted that two-thirds of retailers had modified their stores as part of their digital strategies and to create more varied experiences for shoppers in stores.

The changes include providing tablet devices for in-store ordering and digital screens to showcase product ranges. Some 58% of retailers said they planned to make further changes, which CBRE said points to modifying store design as an ongoing process. It found 18% of retailers have no plans to amend stores as a result of digital technology.

Technology was also found to be influencing retailers' plans to expand, the survey found, with 40% planning to increase store openings as a result of their digital strategies.

Kevin Sims, director and head of retail for CBRE in Scotland, said: "In the digital age, it is more important than ever that retailers understand their brand and the way it engages with consumers.

"Advances in technology provide an increasing range of tools to do this, and consequently those retailers that do embrace digital technology will have the best chance of success."

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