By Matt Pillar, chief editor
December 2014 Integrated Solutions For Retailers
In 2014, retail investments focused on the consumer experience. In 2015, retail technology spending will meet shoppers’ collective calls for seamless engagement in any channel.
Since 2009, Integrated Solutions For Retailers has been mapping the tech spending plans of our subscriber base, benchmarking retailers’ implementation priorities and the trends that drive those priorities along the way. The comprehensive survey data we collect annually during late Q3 and early Q4 — this year from more than 200 retail decision makers across several disciplines — paints a clear and accurate picture of what’s to come in the following year. We began conducting the survey in the wake of near financial collapse, at a time when many retailers were intent to merely keep the lights on. A look back at our December 2009 predictions shows an industry investing in bare minimum maintenance of legacy systems, even as consumers began leveraging new mobile and e-commerce technologies that put intense competitive pressure on traditional and fledgling cross-channel retailers. Over the next two years, retail tech spending gradually climbed out of perseverance mode. POS and e-commerce upgrades ensued, albeit many of them disjointed. By 2012, with slow recovery under way, retailers’ investments began to shift toward a more concerted focus on consumer desires. Business intelligence had permeated the retail software landscape, feeding consumer demand insight into virtually every application. Still focused on cost control, retailers leveraged their newfound analytics applications to drive more efficient sourcing, merchandising, and allocation decisions. But perhaps more importantly, merchants began paying closer attention to shopper engagement preferences on a more personal level. Consumers were profiled, their cross-channel habits and expectations charted, and the business impacts of those expectations measured. It’s that growing volume of intelligence that’s shaping retailers’ tech spending and implementation plans for 2015. Without question, those plans point to a concerted effort toward unifying the retail commerce experience across all channels of consumer engagement.