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Retails Top Digital Pain Points and Priorities

Ryan Hall Manager, Vertical Solutions Marketing Published 4 Sep 2019

As the retail industry enters a new age of digital maturity and retail brands begin to scale their digital programs across their organizations, the technologies retail businesses invest in (and their associated goals for the business) continues to evolve.

Pulling retail-specific insights and results from Enterprise Strategy Group’s (ESG) 2019 Technology Spending Intentions Survey, the infographic below illustrates the key digital pain points and priorities apparent in the retail landscape today, including:

  • Digital Business Goals Shaping the Industry
  • Top Technology and Networking Challenges
  • Business Initiatives Driving the Most Tech Spend
  • Most Important Objectives for Digital Transformation
  • Tech Categories to See Increased Spend in 2019

To understand how retail IT and technology leaders are specifically thinking about these categories, check out the infographic below.

There’s an abundance of notable trends from the survey, but let’s call out a few and dig deeper into what they could mean for retail.

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Business Initiatives Driving Tech Spend

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that ‘Strengthening Cybersecurity” is at the top of this list.  This is especially true for brick and mortar stores, who seeing more and more connected edge devices across their business environments.  Some of these are guest devices requesting access to an external Wi-Fi network, some are internal devices that staff use to support day-to-day operations, and some are IoT ‘things’ that augment and automate traditional workflows.  The bottom line? Between IoT, mobility, cloud-based and on-premise deployment models, the exact perimeter of a retailers’ IT network solution are not as directly and easily defined, which means it’s more important than ever to invest in security to keep the business and customers from being compromised. 

Most Important Objectives for Digital Transformation

The most important objectives for digital transformation are at the top of every retailers’ list – ‘deliver better customer experiences,’ ‘create new innovative products and services,’ ‘develop data-centric products’ and of course ‘improve operational efficiency.’  However, there’s certainly something to be said for the way these objectives are interconnected, how achieving one or two yields an improved possibility for achieving another.  For example, there’s a reason the top digital objective for retailers is to ‘Improve Operation Efficiency.’  That’s because achieving operational excellence in retail frees up valuable time and resources to pursue strategic, forward-thinking projects – like delivering personalized customer experiences and developing innovative systems.  For this reason, retailers are hyper-focused on scaling digital initiatives, lessons, and successes up and across the org, because the return to the business is multi-faceted and invaluable.

Tech Categories to See Increased Spending

In the previous section, we highlighted how retailers see ‘operational efficiency’ as the most important objective related to digital transformation, so it makes sense retailers ranked ‘artificial intelligence’ as the #1 area for ‘tech categories to see increased spending.’  Artificial intelligence and machine learning offer significant promise for retail organizations and their digital/IT systems; these technologies offload and automate routine tasks and discover greater operational efficiencies.        

For more tech insights from the retail industry today, check out ‘The State of Retail: Digital Goals of CIOs.’  To learn about Extreme’s purpose-built networking solutions for retail, visit our retail solution page.   

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