According to a survey by Techconsult, not all retailers have the necessary IT infrastructure for online stores and mobile apps.
According to a non-representative KPS study, online stores are the top sales channel for their products and services for almost two-thirds of companies, and 56 percent are planning budget increases. Also on the rise are channels such as social commerce or marketplaces and mobile apps as sales channels. Four out of ten companies continue to rely on brick-and-mortar retail.
In addition to the variety of sales channels that retailers face, they also face numerous internal as well as external challenges. First and foremost is the ability to respond to supply chain difficulties (31 percent), as well as meeting fast delivery times and improved shipping options (28 percent). In addition, due to the overall economic situation, 28 percent of companies surveyed are experiencing declining demand. There are also internal challenges, such as integrating new features and technologies into the existing IT infrastructure (28 percent) and integrating technologies for an overarching customer profile (27 percent).
Strategies for improved customer retention
Strategies for increasing customer loyalty within this mixed situation vary widely. So far, every second company analyzes trends and behavior of its customers in order to optimize customer service. In other areas, such as product, purchasing and assortment development, the potential of customer data is only being exploited in isolated cases, especially in the wholesale and retail sectors. Only 36 percent use data to improve customer loyalty and retention. In the case of retail companies in the industrial sector, this figure is almost one in two.
Overall, 31 percent of respondents plan to optimize customer loyalty and repurchase rates through better customer data. For almost one-third, optimizing competitiveness by making business processes more efficient and tapping new customer segments through new online channels are also on the agenda. The majority are focusing on a cross-channel customer experience strategy. 87 percent of the companies surveyed are already defining, planning or pursuing such a roadmap.
Digitisation still expandable
The expansion of the IT infrastructure takes a rather low priority in these approaches: One-third are focusing on increasing performance by modernizing the IT infrastructure. 37 percent cite IT infrastructure/technology as an area for investment over the next 12 months. Less importance is attached to other areas: Despite the high relevance of the topics, only 26 percent each plan to invest in their cybersecurity and business process automation to strengthen their IT infrastructure. 28 percent are putting monetary resources into improving their customer service.
In this context, systems for aggregating and distributing data are gaining in importance in order to ensure uniform communication across all channels. In addition to content and master data management systems, platforms for product information management (PIM) and digital asset management are increasingly being used. The goal is to achieve not only operational efficiency but also a seamless customer experience through the use of different, interlinked systems.
For the study
the research and analyst firm techconsult surveyed 201 IT managers from traditional retail companies as well as insurance companies and industrial companies with retail activities.