Year after year, technology drastically changes the retail landscape. Not long ago, what’s commonplace now would have seemed impossible – like letting customers scan their own purchases at unmanned checkout lanes, the ability to buy almost anything (from almost anywhere) using a smartphone or the ability to pay for goods and services by scanning the very same phone.
Because most retailers take their time and carefully weigh their options before deciding to implement a new technology, just knowing what they’re doing now and what they’re planning to do next can accurately forecast where the industry is going. The 2017 Retail Technology Report: An Analysis of Trends, Buying Behaviors and Future Opportunities aims to do just that.
The August 2017 survey asked 177 respondents which technologies they’re using, what they’re planning to spend more or less on over the next 12 months, which emerging technologies they think will impact the industry most in 2018, and how their organization buys new technology.
Looking ahead to 2018, respondents were asked whether they expected their spending would increase, decrease or remain the same next year. The largest percentages of respondents said they plan to increase spending on:
- Marketing automation software (51.58 percent)
- E-commerce platforms (47.15 percent)
- Analytics (46.28 percent)
- Video (45.37 percent)
- Email (42.17 percent)
- Loyalty programs (41.67 percent)
- Mobile website (41.32 percent)
- Behavioral retargeting (41.18 percent)
- SEM/SEO (40.0 percent)
- Security/fraud prevention software (40.0 percent)
What most of the “increased spending planned” technologies have in common is the ability to provide retailers with more information about their customers – who they are, what they’re shopping for, and how they like to browse, compare options, and purchase. Many of these technologies, like analytics, loyalty programs and behavioral retargeting, are extremely useful in helping retail organizations decide how to better reach and serve their customers in the future.
Knowing your customers better will be key to getting ahead of the competition in 2018. Customers increasingly expect stores to know what they want when they want it – and to be able to deliver. But more than 80 percent of survey respondents report taking up to 12 months to select a technology vendor. Putting the right technologies in place could take a while, leaving little doubt about it: The time to start preparing for success next year is now.