Most Omnichannel Execs Not Involved in Buying Tech, Report Finds
Despite the growing omnichannel nature of today’s consumers, many retailers aren't including omnichannel executives in the technology buying process.
This was a key finding from Total Retail's latest survey and report, The 2017 Retail Technology Report: An Analysis of Trends, Buying Behaviors and Future Opportunities. The report, which was produced in conjunction with Radial, features the results of a survey conducted over a two-week period about how companies are handling the research, buying process and implementation of new retail technologies. A total of 177 respondents shared their thoughts on these subjects.
Among other questions, respondents were asked to rank the level of involvement for departments within their organization in the technology buying process. While some of the results, shown in the chart below, are not ground breaking, others show a shift in internal behavior.
Not surprisingly, for example, more than 58 percent of the retailers surveyed said their IT department is “significantly involved” in the technology buying process, followed closely by general management (57.86 percent) and marketing (56.44 percent).
What did raise some eyebrows is that only 24.34 percent of retailers said their omnichannel executives are involved in the technology buying process. Perhaps this is due to the fact that organizations haven’t yet broken out specific teams dedicated to omnichannel, but rather see it as function of another department (e.g., marketing).
Respondents were also asked how long, on average, the vendor selection process takes when making a moderate to major technology purchase. The results, which are shown in the chart below, show that it takes the majority of retail executives (32.9 percent) zero to three months, on average, to select a vendor.
The next most popular answer was three months to six months, with 30.54 percent of respondents reporting that this is how long they need to select a vendor. The third most popular answer was six months to 12 months (22.16 percent), before a significant drop-off to retailers that take more than a year.
Vendor Selection Best Practices
Sometimes choosing a new service provider is as simple as asking a trusted peer who they use in their business. Other times it involves a formal proposal, consideration and selection process. Regardless, the process is going to take some time out of your already busy schedule. While the charts above provided data on the technology buying processes of retailers, here are a few best practices to think about when searching for your next tech investment:
- Make sure you know what you need. Don't be tempted by sales pitches that don't match your requirements, and understand the difference to your business between a strategic supplier and one that offers short-term solutions. You'll need to spend much more time selecting and managing the former group than the latter.
- Spend time on research. Choosing the right suppliers is essential for your business. Don't try to save time by buying from the first supplier you find that may be suitable Ask your peers with first-hand experience of suppliers for their advice. Also, always check to make sure your supplier has sufficiently strong cash flow to deliver what you want, when you need it. A credit check will also help reassure you that they won't go out of business when you need them most.
- Price isn't everything. Other factors are equally important when choosing a supplier — reliability and speed, for example. If you buy cheaply but persistently let down your customers as a result, they'll start to look elsewhere.
The Retail Technology Report serves as a valuable resource for retailers looking to learn more about the technology landscape within their industry, offering them the chance to benchmark themselves against their competition. In addition, service providers to the industry can gain insights into how they can better serve their clients — e.g., what departments are primarily responsible for making technology buying decisions. We'll be continuing our reporting on this proprietary data in the coming weeks. You can access the full 2017 Retail Technology Report: An Analysis of Trends, Buying Behaviors and Future Opportunities, by downloading it here.
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