The Candid Voice in Retail Technology: Objective Insights, Pragmatic Advice

Sneak Peek At Our Upcoming Innovation Report


Brian got to take part in some cool conversations about innovation at the Esri/UNT conference last week. But later this week, we’ll be releasing our 2nd annual report on that exact topic - Innovation In Retail 2019: Keeping It Real. What we found is that retailers’ attitudes about innovation have matured over the past year. The study highlights how retailers’ thoughts on innovation have evolved, and the concrete steps they are taking to solve the perceived challenges they face.

What are some of the main takeaways from the coming report? Here are just a few:

  • Business Challenges. These challenges still (and ultimately always) revolve around meeting customer expectations. While Amazon remains a significant threat, other retailers have risen to the challenge and keep raising the barre. Unfortunately, while retailers recognize they have to do more, they remain locked in fear of failure. Even with the threat of agile competitors they tend to hold back from new investments until they are proven by others. Show them case studies, and perhaps they’ll give a new technology a try. While Retail Winners are slowly breaking through this logjam, change comes slowly. Perhaps too slowly for frustrated shoppers.
  • Opportunities. The abundance of available information has become a key opportunityfor retailers, most especially Retail Winners. Information remains the newest, most strategic asset retailers have. There’s always more to be consumed. And so, in deciding how to innovate, retailers look to people (their customers), processes (the way they do things internally) and technology (what their technology vendors are offering them as new functionality), as sources of the value and experiences they seek to provide to their guests.
  • Organizational Inhibitors. While size might be advantageous in terms of IT budgets and market clout, it turns out that the smallest retailers are the most nimble. Fully 59% report that innovation is not a “project” for them. It is part of their culture. Larger retailers run lots of pilots, and might even buy a tech company they find attractive, but their very size works against them. This is one of the most fascinating findings in the report.
  • Technology Enablers. While retailers might remain technology-averse, their Boards of Directors are not. They not only support technology innovation, for 79% of Retail Winners, they actually demand it. This is new, important, and something retailers should be discussing in their own board rooms.

Based on the information we gathered for the report, we also offer in-depth and pragmatic suggestions all retailers can use to help them proceed. These recommendations will be in the Bootstrap Recommendations portion of the report, and we’ll be sending out an email later this week to let you know when the full doc is ready. We hope you find it informative!


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Articles & Opinions September 17, 2019
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