Over Half of US Retailers Suffering From ‘Information Overload’
As we move further into 2020, it's natural for retailers and brands to start thinking about which aspects of their business they should invest in to remain competitive in their marketplace — be it product, labor or technology. In recent years, technology has become the prime concern, and it's imperative that retailers invest in the correct software to power the front and back end of their business. But is there such a thing as too much choice?
Too Much, Too Soon
A new survey into the buying habits of American merchants has yielded some interesting results. For example, 51 percent of U.S. retailers are suffering from information overload when it comes to making software purchases for their businesses. The recent explosion of technology vendors selling into the retail sector has seemingly overwhelmed U.S. merchants, and lack of time and expertise has led to poor purchasing decisions. Furthermore, due to the sheer volume of choice, 66 percent of retailers indicated that they would invest in software on the basis of a trusted brand, rather than price, suggesting that there's a significant information gap between vendor and consumer.
It’s All About the Customer
According to the study, priority No. 1 for U.S. retailers is acquiring new customers, while at the same time keeping existing ones as happy as possible. No surprises there, with just shy of 60 percent of U.S. merchants investing in customer service technology and delivery tracking solutions that enable greater transparency and allow for better customer communication during the delivery process. A large proportion of this investment is geared towards customer acquisition, with almost two-thirds of retailers spending on social media marketing, and a further 55 percent investing in advertising software. Personalization is also a key tenet of obtaining new clientele. The customer journey must be quick, specific and transparent. The investment numbers reflect this, as 64 percent of participants noted that they had allocated spend on web personalization software over the past 12 months.
What Should I Do?
The report is a great place to start, as it breaks down key industry trends and highlights where the majority of investment has been made over the past 12 months. One of the first things to consider when implementing new software is scalability — i.e., is this software flexible and resilient enough to respond to peaks and troughs in demand, seasonal issues, and growing pains? Anticipate the effect of the changes you're making, ensure that you take a holistic look at your business, and think about how the software will need to integrate with other applications and systems. Finally, research and prioritization are your friend. The majority of us aren't lucky enough to be able to pump money into every aspect of our business, so invest wisely to give yourself the competitive edge. However, don’t do so without putting in the research first!
Derek O'Carroll is CEO of Brightpearl, a cloud-based ERP for retailers and wholesalers.
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