IT spending in the retail industry has typically been underfunded for years. However, a new survey foresees this situation changing in the near future.
The Planet Retail’s Retail Tech Spending Report engaged more than 350 senior retail decision-makers worldwide to understand what their IT priorities are. What the survey found is that technology will play an important role in refining the customer experience and streamlining the supply chain.
The growth of e-commerce is being felt by local retailers, with over half (54 per cent) describing themselves as omni-channel retailers. 38 percent are still exclusively bricks and mortar, while eight per cent are only trading online.
These numbers highlight how bricks and mortar retailers have embraced the opportunities of trading online. Even so, over a quarter of retailers continue to trade purely off-line, indicating that that there are industry verticals where customers prefer to buy at a physical store than online.
Even with the seemingly widespread proliferation of POS technologies at retailers, 45 per cent of respondents are investing in this space over the next 12 months. With consumers having access to a growing variety of digital payment methods, more recently including the likes of Apple Pay and Google Pay, it’s no surprise that there is a demand for modern, integrated point-of-sale and loss prevention systems.
The growth of smartphones has not gone unnoticed by local retailers, with 38 per cent investing in mobile apps in the next 12 months. This sizable investment in app development indicates that retailers understand that the purchasing journey for many customers, who may not have the time to visit a physical store or browse an ecommerce site on a PC, begins on the small screen.
The research also highlights how many Australian retailers are already on the way towards adopting some specific technologies, such as social media and loyalty programs. 67 per cent are investing in a social presence in the next 12 months, while 55 per cent currently have a loyalty program in place.
What the results show is that by leveraging technology, and refocusing their priorities, retailers are able to uncover some real opportunities to grow their business. Making use of these opportunities will be important for the short and long term, since today’s consumers are driven by price and convenience. They are also very practical and willing to switch loyalties if they feel they will receive a better customer experience elsewhere.
For those reason, it seems that the retail experience can be boiled down to delivering a frictionless experience for customers. Technology, when it is properly integrated, has the ability to assist retailers in making that possible.
Fortunately, the research already indicates that retailers understand the growing challenges in the sector and are planning to take tangible steps to modernise the shopping experience for customers. With e-retailers such as Amazon entering the Australia market, promising the discount prices and convenient delivery of its American site, local retailers will need to prepare themselves for a more competitive market.
We’ve already assisted numerous retailers such as Super Retail Group, Kathmandu, Winning Appliances, PlaceMakers, Bunnings, David Jones and others with their digital transformations. If you are looking for guidance with e-commerce and mobile technology, contact us today to learn how we can ensure the best quality experience for you and your audience.