In order to keep pace in a hypercompetitive retail environment, as well as meet the increasing demands of fickle and fragmented consumers, retailers and brands are looking to technology for help. This extends to all facets of their businesses, from consumer-facing brick-and-mortar stores and digital properties, to back-end systems and solutions that are powering marketing, supply chains, customer service, among other functions.
The result has been increased investments in technology that enable the one-to-one relationships that are at the heart of any retail business today — e.g., marketing automation, personalization, CRM platforms. However, this increase in technology spending hasn’t extended to the emerging tech that’s generating buzz but, at least so far, little in terms of return on investment (with the exception of artificial intelligence). These are just a couple of the key takeaways from Total Retail’s 2020 Retail Technology Report, which was produced in conjunction with Orckestra Technologies, a leading omnichannel commerce platform for innovative retailers and brands.
Total Retail surveyed its audience of retail executives to get a better understanding of their current usage of technology, future technology needs and wants, and the processes within their organizations for making technology purchases. A total of 111 retail execs responded to the online survey, which was conducted in February 2020 and March 2020. Here are some of the highlights from the data collected:
- We’re in the midst of a technology arms race. Two-thirds of respondents said they will be increasing spending on technology in the next 12 months. Just 3 percent said they will be decreasing technology spending in the next 12 months. While not stated, it’s likely these retailers feel the pressure to compete with competitors, both online and offline, that are using technology to improve the customer experience.
- Leveraging data and technology to create one-to-one relationships with customers is a top priority for retailers. Nearly half of all respondents (48 percent) identified marketing automation as a technology that they will be increasing spending on in the next 12 months, the top choice among a laundry list of other options. Furthermore, personalization technology (43 percent) and CRM platforms (33 percent) were also among the top five for spending increases, reflecting retailers desire to use data and tech to better engage with customers and prospects.
- Retailers have adopted, or are planning to adopt, artificial intelligence (AI) at a much higher rate than other emerging technologies. When asked to choose the emerging technologies that they’re not currently investing in but plan to do so within the next 12 months, 18 percent of respondents selected AI, the highest of any technology listed. Furthermore, nearly one-third of respondents (32 percent) identified AI as the emerging technology that they believe will have the biggest impact on the retail industry within the next 12 months.
- Similar to the data collected for the 2019 report, marketing departments will see the biggest boost to their technology budgets in the next 12 months (when compared to other internal departments), with spending on personalization software, marketing automation tools, and content management systems at the top of their wish lists.
Total Retail’s fourth annual Retail Technology Report provides valuable insights into the technology landscape within the retail industry. The data collected from 100-plus retail executives serves as a road map for retailers and brands, identifying the technologies their competitors are currently investing in as well as what they’re targeting for future spend. Leverage this information to your advantage as you seek to identify technology solutions that provide improved operational efficiencies, cost savings, and increased revenues.
Download Total Retail’s 2020 Retail Technology Report today.