Tweeting not just for birds, says gardening retail tech expert

Garden retailers must tap into technology such us Twitter, Facebook, Xbox and mobile phones to keep up with changing buying practices, according to a technology expert.

Scott Storey told Glee visitors he could think of no retail innovation whatsoever to emerge in the past three years, yet consumers were hugely innovative when buying.

"Mobile technology is giving us a new way of communicating with our customers. Ocado is one of the biggest apps and Tesco has its loyalty barcode on a phone. Do you use Facebook or Twitter with customers? These are the ways they want to be communicated with."

Storey, managing director of CTS Retail, said a recent survey found 83 per cent of consumers wanted seamless connection between web and mobile phones.

Garden centres should do "retail health checks" on their online customer interaction and their use of social networking sites, he added.

They could also mark themselves from one to five on whether customers received the same quality of service regardless of how they bought a product.

Staff incentives to promote cross-channel sales, putting inventory and loyalty data online and keeping people informed by "tweeting" on Twitter would also help.

"Customers can then interact in any way they want, allowing them to order from their Xbox, computer or mobile phone. Customers want the complete view," said Storey.

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