Retail IT chiefs say e-commerce platforms need upgrades within next year

Almost two-thirds (64 per cent) of retail IT bosses believe their e-commerce platform should be updated in the next 12 months, in order to keep up with demand.

A Censuswide survey of 405 heads of retail IT, chief information officers and heads of e-commerce in business-to-consumer and business-to-business organisation across the UK and US for Wunderman Thompson Commerce, showed that 49 per cent did not expect their e-commerce platform to last beyond a year.

With online purchasing rising during the Coronavirus lockdown, the report found that retail businesses were under increased pressure to embark on digital transformation of their e-commerce infrastructure, with a focus on headless technology, micro-services, API-first and cloud-native, to evolve their digital offering in line with consumer demand.

Top of the list of technology upgrade priorities was scalability, with 84 per cent of respondents keen to invest in a platform that is capable of growing to support their organisation’s ambitions.

Elsewhere, the same number (84 per cent) wanted something easy to integrate, while reliability and stability (83 per cent), and ease of customisation (81 per cent) were also major considerations.

However, the report found that the average timeframe for businesses planning to implement these new technologies was 7.4 months. As a result, many recognised they did not have the skills or resources to roll out these upgrades on their own, with 80 per cent of respondents admitting they would want to work with an experienced technology delivery partner to better leverage their current e-commerce platform, or to help them move to a more modern architecture.

Almost all (99 per cent) organisations already have plans in place to adopt the technologies needed to ensure their online channels are fit for purpose. A further two-thirds (67 per cent) of respondents recognised that a micro-services approach as a good fit for their business now – a number that jumped to three quarters when considering it as an approach in the future.

Nearly a third (32 per cent) of IT leaders agreed strongly that they should be moving to micro-services now in order to future-proof their online channels.

Glen Burson, EMEA chief technology officer at Wunderman Thompson Commerce, said: “Global commerce has never seen anything quite like the COVID-19 pandemic and it is little surprise that the way businesses operate has been upended.

“For organisations looking to retain and even boost the sales and brand awareness they had pre-COVID-19, now is the time to update their digital platforms and make sure their commerce engine and architecture is as effective and future-ready as possible."

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