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Retail disruptors take risks on technology: report

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Disruptive technologies are reshaping the retail landscape and retailers are yet to adapt.
Disruptive technologies are reshaping the retail landscape and retailers are yet to adapt.

Retail disruptors realise that technology is a strategic enabler for business and not just a cost to be managed.

These are findings coming from the 2018 Retail Disruptors Survey, prepared by Retail Systems Research (RSR), a market intelligence company focused on the impact of technology on the retail industry.

According to the findings, retail disruptors, who are defined as retailers who embrace technology, are using technology to improve customer experience, "25% of disruptors offer seamless shopping experiences across all channels, compared to a minimal 13% of traditional retailers. Disruptors also weigh human insight when it comes to data-driven decision-making. Survey results show that disruptors value human insight as much as data-driven insights in key areas namely: store operations, sourcing and procurement and merchandising".

"The results of this survey are clear: disruptors are more willing to sacrifice a faster growth trajectory to achieve the customer experience shoppers expect, with a mix of human- and data-driven insights for the perfect blending of art and science," explained JoAnn Martin, vice president, retail industry strategy, JDA. "Retail disruptors realise that technology is a strategic enabler and not just a cost to be managed. This will be absolutely critical to success in an evolving and turbulent time for retailers," Martin said

Further insight from the survey shows that 53% of the retail disruptors provide the highest-quality products and services while 51% are faster and more responsive than traditional retailers. The survey also found that 42% have fundamentally changed the customer experience.

"Sixty six percent of the surveyed companies confirmed that they are profitable while 28% except to start making profit in the coming year and a half, 49% of disruptors are growing at an annualised rate higher than 11% while only 30% of non-disruptors are growing at that rate," Martin noted.

Dion Chang, Trends expert and founder of Flux Trends, says e-commerce market is growing at a rapid rate and in terms of technology and retailers need to 'up their online game' in order to remain relevant. "Retailers everywhere need to offer online facilities for their customers. E-commerce has evolved into easy access to information. This allows customers to do comparative analysis on products with the option to purchase online or walk into the nearest retailer with the decision to purchase already made while researching the product on e-commerce platforms.

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