Today’s retail customer, demands a custom-tailored and consistent shopping experience, regardless of the sales channel. That’s nothing new, right? Right. Then why are so many retailers choosing to ignore this shift in consumer buying habits? Does it have something to do with mitigating risk? It’s not easy to be the innovators and early adopters. Accepting new technologies based upon consumer buying trends can be a risky endeavor. But, I think it’s safe to say that we’re far beyond the infant stages of adoption when it comes to tech investments that better serve the individual customer. And trust me, I get it, you can’t tackle every issue at once, but you can proactively analyze and prioritize which technological investments will best address the vast changes occurring in todays’ retail landscape.
So what’s the best way for you to start that process? Well, the truth is, there’s numerous ways to approach this type of situation. But, I think benchmarking the competition is a good place to start. With that being said, let’s take a look at what technology investments leading retailers are leveraging to create a more personalized shopping experience for their customers.
Connecting Inventory Management Applications Across All Sales Channels: “According to EKN’s “State of the Industry Research Series: The New Cost Retail Structure of Retail IT” – “68% of retailers (In the next two years) are planning an initiative to connect inventory management applications across both physical and online channels.”
Seeking POS Hardware / Software That Operates As A Unified Transaction Engine: “According to the RIS News “11th Annual Store Systems Study: Stores Reinvented” – 30% of retailers will be looking to purchase POS hardware or software (In the next 12 months) that will create a unified transaction engine.
Investing in Mobile Applications to Enhance the Customer Experience: “According to EKN’s “State of the Industry Research Series: Mobility in Retail” – 76% of retailers plan to invest in mobile applications to further improve their customers shopping experience.”
Upgrading Order Management Systems: “According to the RIS News “24th Annual Retail Technology Study” – 14.3% of the retailers surveyed, are planning to start a major tech upgrade (in the next 12 months) to their order management systems. In that same study, RIS News also found that only 32.8% of retailers have next generation order management systems in place.”
Obviously, this list is by no means exhaustive. There are several other tech investments that could be considered a higher priority depending on which retail vertical / sub-vertical you’re in. Some may say that they’re more concerned with finding tools that help them analyze consumer site search data, or maybe its real-time reporting tools that allow for better product search conversion. Whatever initiative your company considers to be of the highest priority, it’s imperative that you to start planning and prioritizing which initiatives make the most sense for your company to tackle first, and most importantly, which of those investments will best address the needs of your current / future customers.