More than a third of retailers are considering deploying a single consumer platform to manage transactions across all sales channels, according to a study conducted by the National Retail Federation (NRF), Demandware and the University of Arizona.
Results from the study – which polled more than 200 US and European retail business technology executives – indicate that 36% of respondents would use a single platform to consolidate and manage key data elements and functionalities. This would help them provide customers with consistent, brand-aware shopping experience, regardless of how they interact with a retailer. A unified platform would also enable retailers to streamline workflows and synchronise product data across digital channels with speed and accuracy.
“It’s no surprise that retailers are increasingly looking to leverage e-commerce technology as the single platform for all commerce,” said Rob Garf, Demandware’s VP of industry strategy and insights. “This provides retailers a great opportunity to reduce costs, improve operational efficiencies, and enhance the overall customer shopping experience in a dynamic consumer environment.”
According to the report, customer expectations are also driving retailers to reassess their technology spend and investments. As the retail landscape becomes more focused on digital technology, integrating store and online operations is quickly becoming a key focus for retailers as e-commerce capable solutions increasingly supplant traditional POS and mobile technologies.
Over the next three years, 80% of the survey respondents expect to maintain or increase store technology investments, while 70% said their organisation is currently deploying, or planning to refresh, its existing software. This includes using the cloud as a means to centrally manage consumer-facing systems, such as POS software applications, and introducing more mobile devices.
“The future of retail will envelope business platforms that enhance the endless opportunities that new technologies offer, such as systems that allow retailers to provide seamless, relevant and personalised interactions for all of their customers,” said Tom Litchford, NRF’s vice president of retail technologies. “In this consumer-led industry, retailers are working overtime to keep up with the expectations and demands of their savvy customers and are intent on integrating the digital shopping experience like never before.”
The report also highlights some of the key steps retailers must take to understand and meet consumer demand in the future. These include the need to:
- Understand the market and internal landscape by examining current technology solutions for both stores and e-commerce teams
- Establish a technology roadmap that will define success, support business initiatives and identify a path with clear milestones
- Drive continual innovation by creating a culture that allows employees to test and learn quickly
- Extend capabilities to channels, devices and geographies so the business can innovate quickly.
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