Only 27% of retailers in the UK and US say their IT infrastructure is fully able to support plans to improve the in-store customer experience, according to research by Zynstra. A further 20% said they had to delay or reject a roll-out of new in-store applications as a result of IT limitations, costs or concern, whilst 98% would roll-out new applications and services if it was easier to do so.
A survey, conducted on behalf of Zynstra by Censuswide, polled 308 retail IT decision makers in the US and UK. “In the retail space, particularly the retail store, IT must play a critical role, not only improving the efficiency of operations, but also enabling innovation and application roll-out to drive enhanced customer experiences. What this research has revealed is that IT decision makers have low confidence when it comes to the ability of their current infrastructure to actually fulfil this role,” says Nick East, CEO, Zynstra.
The research identified a number of challenges when it came to rolling out new applications and services — budget being the most cited (48%). In addition, 35% of retailers said they found delivering consistency of in-store versus online experience difficult, while 35% also identified the lack of local store IT skills as an issue. A further challenge was that 49% were easily able to make changes and upgrades across all branches, while 32% said they actually managed each store as a separate IT installation. Despite these challenges, attitudes toward preparedness for seasonal events like Black Friday and Christmas were more positive. 43% felt they were very prepared when it came to the roll-out of seasonal promotions, while 39% felt very prepared to deal with the roll-out of customer experience applications during this time.
Download the full report here.