18 July 2019

Retailers Are Finally Focusing on Tech and CX

According to numerous reports, retail spending on technology will grow globally at the end of this year. It’s finally the time to acknowledge that the next big thing in the retail is already happening.

Until recent years, technological adaptation and innovation weren’t the retail’s most robust domains. Amazon’s pledge to bring completely frictionless, check-out free stores triggered industry-wide pressure on rapid changes. Customers have always strived for a much better shopping experience, they just didn’t have the other option.  

The card has finally flipped, and the data is underlying that fact. Current predictions are saying that global retail spending on technology will hit $203 billion in 2019. This trend of significant growth is expected to continue for the next years. The retail sector is undoubtedly overhauling its reputation of relatively slow technological adoption to reflect changing customer habits better.

The importance of data gathering  

Another twist also happened in the executive circles. Most of the chief information officers are now directly responsible for business results. That wasn’t the case not that long ago. The primary responsibility of CIOs was to keep costs and potential risks as low as possible. By shifting additional duty on them, CIOs had to come up with actual tech solutions which will help the business grow

What we see nowadays is the rapid rise of investments into retail analytics and AI. One of the world’s leading advisory companies Gartner named rising expenditures on software as the most crucial. Retailers are massively adopting retail analytics, digital marketing, and AI-powered solutions.  As businesses aim to get a more precise overview of their audience, data analytics becomes more relevant for them. 

Having set up advanced data-gathering equipment accordingly with software that can analyze the data is now a must for retailers who want to keep growing.  When a retailer knows details on how customers behave, how store design and length of queues affect their shopping decisions, it’s much easier to adjust internal processes. Being technologically advanced as a retailer doesn’t necessarily mean having adopted explicitly futuristic equipment in the store. 

Rapid change and tight competition 

Despite alarmist fearmongering that physical retail will diminish soon, Gartner reported global retail sales up by almost 5%. No doubt that there’s an ongoing transformation of bricks and mortar. But let’s not confuse a change (for the better) with some catastrophe.

“There will be a robust retail industry, but the rules of the game are changing rapidly. Different kinds of retail business will continue to arrive and challenge the status quo,” stated Gartner Analyst Thomas O’Connor.

As the shopping experience uniqueness is becoming the main factor upon which are customers deciding where to shop, technology will have a more indispensable role.

Read also:
Fight Against Queues: Where Are We?
The Causes of Abandon Behavior

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