Does it work? That’s the main concern of IT leaders responsible for implementing customer-facing retail technology.

Ensuring customer-facing technologies work properly after launching was identified as a hurdle by 60 per cent of respondents in the recent Riverbed Retail Digital Transformation Survey.

The survey of 100 Australian IT decision makers from the retail sector reveals that more than half (56 per cent) say their company will need to adopt new technology in the next three years to evolve and stay competitive, with 97 per cent saying cloud-based solutions are critical to transforming the digital retail experience.

“The survey echoes what we’re hearing from our retail customers: near-term IT investments that boost the in-store experience will be a key focus for year ahead, as will a continued shift to the cloud – but challenges in managing the complexities that come with this evolution remain,” said Keith Buckley, VP of Riverbed Technology A/NZ

As well as ensuring tech works properly, other hurdles include ensuring the technologies comply with federal privacy regulations (51 per cent), have been properly tested before launching (48 per cent) and are compatible with legacy technology (47 per cent).

Over the next 12 months, the main areas where retailers plan to invest are:

  •       Ability to rapidly expand locations, such as through pop-up stores  (51 per cent)
  •       Improving the in-store wi-fi and mobile service experience for employees and customers (50 per cent)
  •        Ensuring point of sale connectivity and continuity in stores (49 per cent)
  •       Delivering new digital services and applications for employees and customers (46 per cent)
  •       Enhancing productivity for enterprise mobility applications on and across devices (44 per cent)
  •       Obtaining tools to better monitor customer apps, such as usage rates or user experience (42 per cent)

Looking specifically at stores, 56 per cent identified three years or less is the critical time period for brick and mortar retailers to adopt essential technologies in order to stay competitive.

The technologies that are deemed of highest importance for evolving the brick and mortar digital experience to meet future customer needs and demands include:

  • Mobile apps with Augmented Reality (40 per cent)
  • 3D printing, such as to create products on-demand in the store (37 per cent)
  • Push notifications while in-store (33 per cent)
  • Retail apps to track inventory (32 per cent)
  • Virtual assistants and digital personal shoppers (31 per cent)
  • Mobile point of sales technology (29 per cent)
  • On-demand in store video streaming (29 per cent)
  •  Personalised in-store experiences based on customer loyalty data (27 per cent)
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