Retailers’ Tech Spending Focused on Improving CX
Retailers are looking for ways to improve their customers‘ experiences across all channels in which they interact with their brands, and they're turning to technology solutions to help them do so. This was a key finding from Total Retail's 2018-2019 Retail Technology Report, which provides data and analysis on retailers current usage of technology, as well as future technology wants and needs, and spending on said technology.
When asked whether they were more likely in the next 12 months to invest in new customer-facing technology or back-end technology, 50 percent chose customer-facing technology vs. 31 percent that opted for back-end technology (19 percent of respondents said they wouldn't be investing in either within the next year). Retailers are more likely to invest in technology that customers can interact with — both in-store and online — during their purchase journeys than they are back-end solutions that operate in “somewhat” obscurity.
AI Represents the Future of Retail Technology
To help better understand retailers’ future technology spending plans, we asked respondents to choose three emerging technologies that they were not currently investing in but planned to do so in the next 12 months. Perhaps not surprising given the buzz that it has generated, artificial intelligence (AI) was the top technology chosen (although it was the second most popular answer behind "None"). Seventeen percent of respondents plan to allocate budget to AI in the next 12 months, likely drawn to its multiple applications for retail businesses — personalized marketing, inventory management, logistics, customer service, just to name a few.
Furthermore, nearly one-third (32 percent) of retailers identified AI as the emerging technology that they believe will have the biggest impact on the retail industry in 2019. That was well ahead of the next most popular choice, Internet of Things, at 13 percent. The impact of AI in retail is already being felt, and figures to only grow. Business Insider Intelligence projects that AI will boost profitability in retail and wholesale by nearly 60 percent by 2035. Retailers would be wise to adopt AI into their business operations now, avoiding the risk of being left behind when the technology becomes more mainstream.
Total Retail's 2018-2019 Retail Technology report is a valuable resource for retailers and brands looking to learn more about the technology landscape within their industry. Take advantage of the opportunity to benchmark your business against the competition, while also discovering future technology adoption and spending trends that can help position your business for success in 2019 and beyond. Download the report today!
Related story: The 2018-2019 Retail Technology Report