When asked what are the top challenges when implementing a new technology into their business, 70 percent of retailers said integrating it with existing technology. That's just one of the key takeaways from Total Retail’s 2019 Retail Technology Report, which was produced in conjunction with Arm Treasure Data, an enterprise customer data platform. In this year's second quarter, 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 technology buying processes within their organizations.
System integration has proven to be the top technology-related challenge facing retailers today. The demands on retailers and brands to offer immersive customer experiences and frictionless purchasing journeys leaves no room for data silos. Systems must be integrated in order to provide the quick, seamless flow of data that’s required to provide a personalized customer experience. Without this level of integration, your business is operating at a disadvantage in today’s ultracompetitve environment.
Adding in new technology systems and solutions isn’t without its challenges, particularly for legacy brick-and-mortar retailers. The growing number of channels in which consumers can engage and transact with their favorite brands is creating complex and varied data sets, and the need for technology to help manage it all has never been greater.
Creating even more complexity is the continued emphasis on artificial intelligence (AI) in the retail space. Thirty percent of retailers feel that AI is the technology that will have the biggest impact on the industry over the next 12 months. Implementing AI within legacy technology systems poses not only integration challenges, but also adds complexities to business strategy when balancing AI with human touch.
Retailers must have a plan for integrating new systems into their technology ecosystems, especially as executing an omnichannel retail strategy has become so critical to future success.
To help with technology integrations, retailers should consider the following six tips:
- Take inventory of systems’ features, document APIs.
- Embrace customer feedback.
- Understand what customizations are needed before an integration process begins.
- Understand the level of support available to you from your vendor partners.
- Identify the right team members, and set timelines.
- Make data analysis a top priority.
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.
Download Total Retail’s 2019 Retail Technology Report today.
Related story: 2019 Retail Technology Report
Kristina Stidham is the digital content director at Total Retail and sister brands Women in Retail Leadership Circle and Women Leading Travel & Hospitality at NAPCO Media. She is passionate about digital media and handles video, podcast and virtual event production for all brands. You can often find her at WIRLC, TR, WLT&H or industry events with her camera and podcasting equipment—or at home on Zoom—recording interviews with thought leaders and business executives.
Kristina holds a B.A. in Media Studies and Production from the Temple University Klein College of Media and Communication in Philadelphia. Go Owls! When she's not in the office, she loves to go on long walks, sing around the house, hangout with her family and two pet guinea pigs, and travel to new places.