Rackspace surveyed 250 IT decision makers in the UK retail industry to see how they are adopting new technologies to react to shifting consumer trends, while continuing to deliver cost-savings and a flawless customer experience.
When asked about specific technology investments, more respondents indicated that they plan to invest in their online capabilities than instore capabilities , with emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (33%), chatbots (30%), and virtual and augmented reality (24%) primed for significant adoption.
However, the three leading technologies set to be adopted over the next 12 months are data analytics (48%), mobile applications (46%), and cyber security (46%). These three technologies also dominate UK retail IT department budgets for the year ahead, representing up to 13% of spend each.
Rackspace chief technology officer for the EMEA region Lee James said: "Retailers see investing in new technologies as an opportunity to reinvigorate the instore experience. The same technologies that will be so vital to the inevitable ecommerce expansion – like data analytics, mobile applications and AI – can help to deliver on a flawless customer experience across every channel."
However, there are significant barriers to delivering on this vision. Those surveyed revealed that the greatest of these were: budget constraints (42%), a lack of IT / technical skills (27%), the availability of partners to support (20%), legal and regulatory compliance (19%), and a lack of strategic vision (18%).
James added: "The death of the high street presents a very real and immediate threat for retailers of all shapes and sizes. However, this is not just a barrier, it also an opportunity for firms as they look to embrace new technologies to deliver a flawless customer experience instore and online."