News Feature | March 18, 2014

Retail IT News For VARs — March 18, 2014

By Anna Rose Welch, associate editor

Retail IT News For VARs

In the news this week, research reveals technology integration is the biggest hurdle to omni-channel initiatives. Also in the news, wearable technology is forecast to grow from 15 million units to 154 million units by 2018, and a report shows CIOs plan to invest in technology that enhances the customer experience.

Technology Integration Issues Retailers’ Biggest Omni-Channel Hurdle

New research from Accenture and hybris software reveals that technology integration issues are the biggest issue hindering retailers’ abilities to implement seamless retailing. Ninety-four percent of those surveyed say that a number of significant barriers still stand in their company’s way of becoming an integrated omni-channel company. As consumers demand more real-time access to inventory across channels, 40 percent of retailers are having difficulty integrating back-office technology across channels. Only 36 percent surveyed are able to offer customers cross-channel visibility and buy online, pick up in store (BOPS) initiatives.

Wearable Technology Set To Surge By 2018

According to Strategy Analytics, wearable technology is poised to surge tenfold from 15 million units in 2013 to 154 million units by 2018. Smartwatches, smartglasses, and fitness bands are expected to be the biggest device categories to see growth over the next five years. Several challenges facing makers include extending battery life and fully optimizing the devices for mobile data.

CIOs Seek Technology For “Customer-Activated” Enterprise

A new report released by IBM shows that CIOs plan to focus more heavily on the customer experience this year by investing in new technologies. In particular, CIOs will be looking to gain deeper insights into customer data through sentiment mining and social network analysis. To help build a “customer-activated” enterprise, CIOs are turning their attention to cloud computing (64 percent) and mobility solutions (84 percent).

M-Commerce To Hit $626 Billion In 2018

A recent Goldman Sachs forecast (highlighted in The Atlantic) expects that m-commerce will be worth roughly $626 billion in 2018 — the amount e-commerce raked in last year. Goldman Sachs expects mobile commerce to triple from 2012 to 2014. While smartphone-based m-commerce is expected to grow $20 billion to $30 billion a year, a majority of m-commerce will come from tablets. For this year, mobile spending is expected to reach $204 billion.

Digital Signage Worth $15 Billion By 2020

MarketsandMarkets predicts that the market for Digital Signage applications and products will be worth roughly $15 billion by 2020. Software is one of the major growing markets of digital signage, the research shows, especially as industries seek more integrated features in the digital signage system.

40 Percent OF CFOs Plan Mobile Investments

A new BDO USA survey shows that 27 percent of CFOs plan to invest the most capital into IT systems and technology. While 18 percent plan to invest the most capital into e-commerce channels, mobile application development will also be a big investment. Forty percent of CFOs plan to increase their investments in mobile overall, the survey shows.

Retail IT Talking Points

Multichannel Merchant highlights three ways a retailer can personalize customers’ e-commerce experiences. 

Silicon Angle argues that offering in-store Wi-Fi can empower customers to self-service in-store, improve customer retention and loyalty, and boost customer service. The article also provides a list of the top three considerations for retailers when implementing in-store Wi-Fi. Networks must be “elastic” in order to respond to the varying conditions of the network (i.e. retail events, seasonality, and store-based promotions). Retailers must also ensure security maintains PCI compliance and is user-centric. To ensure a cost-effective solution, retailers should integrate and right size the wired and wireless network.

CMO discusses some new research from Accenture that shows customers are “webrooming,” or starting their shopping processes online but buying in-store. Accenture warns that retailers shouldn’t get too carried away with the digital retail experience, but should also be focusing on the in-store experience. Since a majority of customers go online to check store inventory, Accenture says companies should make providing 100 percent inventory visibility a key objective to cater to “webroomers.”

For more news and insights, visit BSMinfo’s Retail IT Tech Center.

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