Total Retail's 2020 Retail Technology Report: Emerging Technologies
Retailers may not be allocating budget to emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), visual search, augmented reality, and more, in 2020. This was a key finding from Total Retail’s 2020 Retail Technology Report, which was produced in partnership with Orckestra Technologies, a leading omnichannel commerce platform for innovative retailers and brands.
For the report, Total Retail surveyed its audience of retail executives to get a better understanding of how they're currently using technology, their technology needs for the future, and how they decide within their organization what technologies to invest in. A total of 111 retail executives completed the online survey, which was conducted in February 2020 and March 2020.
The report reveals that 50 percent of retailers responded "none" when asked what emerging technologies they planned to invest in this year. It may be because retailers are not yet confident in the ways these technologies can positively impact their business, or they simply may not have room in the budget for these investments (and this data was collected before the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic was truly being felt by the retail industry). By not investing in these emerging technologies, retailers may be missing out on getting ahead of the curve. For example, according to Gartner, by 2021, early adopter brands which update their websites to support visual search will increase e-commerce sales by 30 percent. Furthermore, there are over 600 million visual searches on Pinterest each month. Yet despite this data, only 15 percent of retailers who responded to the survey revealed they would be investing in visual search in 2020.
Though 50 percent of retailers don't plan to invest in emerging technologies in 2020, many believe AI will have the greatest impact of all technologies this year. When asked which emerging technology they believed would have the greatest impact on the retail industry within the next 12 months, 32 percent put AI at the front of the pack. One of the respondents stated that, “As the industry continues to personalize and create more unique experiences, AI will become more valuable.”
This is the second year in a row that retailers picked AI as their top choice for the emerging technology that would make the biggest difference to their businesses. Considering retailers can use AI to analyze massive data sets and identify valuable insights necessary to create personalized customer experiences, this isn't too surprising. It's telling us that for retailers, AI is far from a fad.
Want to read the entire report? Download Total Retail's 2020 Retail Technology Report, which provides valuable insights into the technology landscape within the retail industry.
Ashley Chiaradio is the Senior Content Strategist at Total Retail. Ashley has been creating content for more than 7 years, and provides a unique insight in covering the retail industry having worked directly for retailers in the past. She’s passionate about profiling women leadership in the space.