Retailers are learning about all of the new technologies in the marketplace primarily through self-research.
This was a key finding from Total Retail's recently released 2019 Retail Technology Report, which surveyed retail executives on a variety of technology-related topics, including how retailers keep abreast of the new technology solutions and innovations in the market, as well as how they're measuring the success of new technology implementations.
When asked how their organization most often discovers new technology, 59 percent of respondents cited self-driven research, the top answer choice. However, that figure was down from 67 percent in our 2018 survey. Retailers also keeping up-to-date on innovative new technology solutions and systems by attending industry trade shows (41 percent) and networking with other retailers (41 percent).
Networking is particularly valuable for retail execs looking to learn about new technology solutions. For example, they can speak with a peer that has experience using the technology, getting answers to questions such as the following:
- What was the implementation process like?
- How is the company using the technology?
- How does it integrate with other existing technology solutions?
- What challenges have come up since going live?
- What benefits has the company realized since rolling out the technology?
- What level of support has the retailer received from its vendor partner?
Technology Success Measured by Bottom-Line Metrics
This year's survey also asked retail executives what were the two metrics that were most important to the evaluation process for a technology investment. Not surprisingly, increased revenues is the ultimate metric, with 62 percent choosing it as their most important metric. A rather distant second choice was cost savings (42 percent). Retailers have cited ROI as the driving force behind their technology investments, and this data bears that out.
The key is that retailers are continuously monitoring their technology investments, much like they would any other area of their business — stores, marketing, customer service, etc. Data enables better decision making.That extends to technology spending as well.
Total Retail's third 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.
Related story: 2019 Retail Technology Report