We recently teamed up with RIS to sponsor the 26th Annual Retail Technology Study and while we don't mean to toot our own horns, there are some pretty neat findings in all of this data. This year's study was conducted in January and February and is based on input from over 100 respondents from national or large regional retail chains. We've gone through the study with a fine-tooth comb and decided to break it down into a bite-sized list covering key elements and discoveries in the study.
1. Developing Personalized Marketing Capabilities
The leading strategy found in the RIS study is customer personalization capabilities with 51% of respondents targeting it over the next 18 months. We can't say this finding is too shocking since personalization has been perceived as a last effort in offsetting competition by seeking to build consumer relationships that create loyalty.
2. Network and IT Systems Security
47% of key retailers have placed network and IT systems security high on their priority list. Who can blame them? Security is of the utmost importance. Nobody wants to be the next Ashley Madison.
3. Leveraging Social Media
It makes sense that leveraging social media placed high (46%) on the list of priorities for the next 18 months. After all, it's 2016 and most modern companies have now realized the power of using social media as a tool for not only learning about consumers but also for targeted marketing efforts.
4. New Payment Technologies
Payment technologies seem to change as rapidly as the next big trend in fashion. Digital wallets are the new chip and PIN. 45% of retailers surveyed will be focusing on new payment technologies as a priority over the next 18 months.
5. Expanding Unified Commerce (omnichannel) Initiatives
There is no doubt about it, consumers are demanding a consistency in all of their encounters with a retail brand. As they move across channels such as researching, shopping, browsing and transacting they are seeking a unified brand experience. 44% of key retailers will be working to deliver an omnichannel experience over the next 18 months.
6. Advancing Mobile Commerce
Mobile commerce is growing like a weed. A BI Intelligence report states that by 2020, mobile commerce will make up 45 percent of total e-commerce, equaling $284 billion in sales. 43% of retailers polled are working on ramping up their m-commerce initiatives between now and 2018.
7. Increasing Customer Engagement
40% of retailers listed increasing customer engagement as a key strategy. From beacons to interactive digital product displays, companies are experimenting with different in-store customer engagement technologies in order to find the right technology, or mix of technologies, for their brand and target audience.
8. Pricing Optimization
A newer strategy to make the list is pricing optimization with 26% of respondents citing it as a major focus. Price optimization utilizes analysis of big data to predict the behavior of potential buyers to different prices. Companies use price optimization models to determine pricing structures for initial pricing, promotional pricing and discount pricing.
9. Adding Predictive Analytic Capabilities
A recent Gartner report supported the belief that retailers will need advanced analytic capabilities to compete in the digitalized marketplace. 26% of key retailers heeded that warning and are focusing on predictive analytics in 2016.
10. Advancing Mobile Store / Enterprise Capabilities
Last but not least! 23% of retailers will focus on advancing their mobile store / enterprise capabilities. An increasing number of enterprise mobile devices and the adoption of mobile device management by enterprises will drive demand of enterprise app stores.