Half of retail tech chiefs investing in in-store digital

Over half (51 per cent) of UK retail chief information (CIO) and chief technology officers (CTOs) are investing in up-to-date pricing and quicker payment options in-store, in a bid to improve their physical infrastructures to match the online shopping experience.

This is according to a survey by REPL Group of 50 c-suite executives, which revealed that retailers are also prioritising a frictionless High Street shopping experience by providing real-time stock availability (49 per cent) and offering delivery from store (46 per cent) as they look to maximise the benefits offered by bricks and mortar stores.

The research found that 40 per cent of CIOs and CTOs think retailers should be investing in artificial intelligence, followed by Internet of Things networks (26 per cent) and Robotic Process Automation (17 per cent).

Mike Callender, executive chairman of the REPL Group, commented: “It’s no secret that retailers are struggling with a number of challenges, however, the ones that are performing more successfully are those that are matching the differentiator of having a physical infrastructure with the capabilities of a digital environment.

“This is allowing them to maximise the benefit of having a physical store and provide the immediacy customers are demanding – however, this innovative approach to technology is currently only trialled by a handful of retailers, often in their flagship stores, and is yet to be widely adopted.”

The research also found that consumer purchasing trends having the most influence on retailers’ technology purchasing decisions are mobile apps (59 per cent). Conversely, few retailers are prioritising investment in the smaller touches, with only 14 per cent investing in digital signage and point of sale.

However, rather than investing in one technological solution, REPL suggested retailers could see greater impact from using these in combination. “For instance, while digital signage on its own may not offer direct results, using this in conjunction with moveable pay stations or in-store mobile apps would support effective sales and allow retailers to provide the immediacy that consumers desire,” the report read.

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