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Retailers should identify "hot versus hype" technologies

Anuradha Shukla | March 10, 2017
Investing in hype can lead to abandoned programs and unrecoverable costs

Retail Shopping bags

Retailers should focus on technologies that create personal customer connections and reduces pain points along the shopper's journey, according to a new report by Forrester.

A large number of vendors are pushing next-generation digital solutions, but retailers are cautious about getting too far ahead of customer expectations. This is because if they overinvest, it can lead to abandoned programs and unrecoverable costs.

The report emphasises that omnichannel, personalisation, analytics, and digital store tech will be at the core of this year's retail investments as digital leaders watch for case studies and ROI with the newer tech offerings.

Retailers are presently capitalising on and optimising mobile and digital payment solution investments that they've already made. They may also decide to test chatbots and artificial intelligence (AI), but digital professionals say that these solutions will live in operations, not commerce, for the coming year.

Unable to convert talk into transactions
Retailers are unlikely to convert talk into transactions for buying next-generation tech as internet of things (IoT), self-checkout, distributed commerce, and virtual reality/ augmented reality (AR/VR) aren't making significant entry it into this year's budgets.

Forrester advises retailers to invest in tech that is critical to meet customers' high expectations and monitor technologies that have matured or may not be ready for the market.

Retailers should also identify pain points along each customer journey, invest in tech that directly ties to clear, measurable customer value and help leadership avoid "shiny objects" by staying customer-obsessed.

By 2021, 24 percent of online retail sales will be completed on mobile devices. Retailers will still spend on mobile, but most Forrester spoke with are optimising the mobile tech investments that they've already made.

This means retailers will have to spend on defining mobile strategy, optimising customer experiences, and aligning functionality with rising expectations of mobile shoppers.


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