News Feature | November 14, 2016

Retail Tech Resellers: Where Will Your Customers Invest In 2017?

Jim Roddy

By Jim Roddy, Vantiv

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Innovative Retail Technologies magazine has published its annual Retail Tech Spending Report for 2017 and it’s must-read content for anyone in the retail IT industry — especially retail resellers who want to see what’s around the corner in their vertical. This special issue arrived on my desk just hours ago and I’ve already underlined several key passages.

IRT editors Erin Harris and Matt Pillar have compiled charts, graphs, and analysis that will help steer your business, so be sure to review the complete report when you’re done reading this. These passages jumped out to me from the report which is officially titled Retail Tech Spending 2017: A Quest For The Complete Customer Experience:

  • We’ll see the continuation of heavy investment in back office omni-channel initiatives.
  • More merchants are falling in love with the cloud. When we asked survey respondents whether they agreed with the statement “my company is actively moving applications to the cloud,” fewer than 20 percent said they’re not.
  • Today, network, security, and user experience improvements on the part of cloud-based application vendors have spanned those chasms (of poor cloud performance).
  • When we asked our survey audience to share the best technology decision their company made in 2015-2016, cloud adoption was the far-and-away leader. They cited lower cost and technology barriers and real-time access to a host of decision-making data.
  • Inventory management/visibility was the far-and-away leader (37 percent) of top priorities for supply chain/logistics spending in 2017. To meet customer experience expectations, retailers must be able to locate inventory anywhere in the supply chain — be it on a store shelf, in a warehouse, or on a delivery truck.
  • 55 percent of retailers agreed with the statement, “My company is actively investing in omni-channel systems and technologies.”
  • For the second year in a row, wireless networking (40 percent) and Wi-Fi (30 percent) lead retailers’ in-store software infrastructure priorities. That’s a direct reflection of the continued effort to create closer connections with consumers’ digital (mobile and e-commerce) personas.
  • Unsurprisingly, we’re also anticipating considerable continued investment in payment processing throughout 2017. The great EMV revolution has shaped up to look more like an evolution here in the U.S.
  • Payment processing software is a top-three store-level software investment priority in 2017.
  • Most merchants cited lax approaches to payment security — not much-maligned EMV adoption, as some might have expected — as the leading bad decision of 2016. Investment in obsolete payment technology was a common theme, though several smaller merchants complained that chip cards have increased their costs and caused confusion among consumers.
  • The payments landscape is complex and dynamic, which translates to some merchants as painful and tumultuous. We expect to see increased outreach and collaboration among payment providers and the merchants they serve.
  • Printers will also be a hot commodity in 2017 as more retailers are drawn to the smaller, mobile, multipurpose, and intelligent printer offerings on the market.
  • Customer experience management/loyalty has been the top marketing and operations priority for retailers for the past three years. But as recently as 2011, just 30 percent of retailers had planned customer experience management investments.
  • If the retail market’s stated technology investment intentions come to fruition, 2017 will be a very innovative year indeed, and consumers will be the year’s big winners as a result.

For the complete Retail Tech Spending 2017 report, visit the Innovative Retail Technologies website here.