Key trends in retail technology

Several articles published recently explore the key trends within retail technology that are set to shape the industry, here we deliver their key findings.

A recent article featured in the Wall Street Journal discussed the key trends in online fashion that are set to continue. Gartner and Retail Info Systems (RIS) also published their 23rd Annual Retail Technology Study, detailing the key areas of future investment for the industry over the next 24 months. The key findings show that online data and analytics along with mobile developments are the drivers set to shape the future of the industry.

Gartner and RIS surveyed c-level executives across the retail industry to determine their major action items for the next 2 years.  They concluded that the top technologies for 2013 include:

1) Campaign analysis and forecasting

2) Standard forecasting and planning

3) Mobile POS

4) Predictive Analytics

5) In-store pickup and return on online items

The clear emphasis here is on analysis and forecasting, with 46% of retailers planning to upgrade their analytics and business intelligence technologies within the next 2 years. Although this will prove tough for retailers as 36% of executives surveyed felt that managing big data was one of their top challenges.

Only around 10% of retailers have a fully functioning mobile offering in place

Mobile channel development was another key topic within the study, the majority of retailers were in the process of planning their strategy while only around 10% had a fully functioning mobile offering in place. This will prove to be another challenge for retailers in 2013 as IMRG have just this week reported in their Quarterly Benchmarking Index thatmobile accounted for 20% of all UK e-retail sales in the first quarter of this year, a 5% rise from last quarter.

Merchandisers and buyers will become much more analytical in their approach thanks to these technologies

The study also looked at merchandising specifically. High levels of future investment are expected in this area on campaign analysis and forecasting and multi-channel forecasting.  The article from the Wall Street Journal mentioned earlier stated that merchandisers and buyers will become more analytical in their approach.  While Peerius’ latest Online Merchandising Index revealed that merchandising leaders ‘can still improve a lot’. Therefore implementing this kind of technology will only enhance these employees capabilities and their impact on the overall business.