Retailers ‘too complacent’ about digital transformation

The retail industry is “dangerously underestimating” the role technology will play in building a sustainable operation that can thrive in future pandemics, the climate crisis, and economic and political instability, new research has found.

Despite unprecedented disruption over the past 18 months, only 43 per cent of retailers think that Brexit and the pandemic have made technology more essential to success, according to a report from Nexer.

The study also reveals that only half (51 per cent) of retailers believe that they will have to implement more technology over the next five years in order to remain competitive, and less than a third (30 per cent ) believe that changes in customer demands/expectations will make technology more crucial.

A further 28 per cent feel that the technology they currently use will remain sufficient for the foreseeable future.

The research found that just 30 per cent of retailers have already implemented AI technology, and they are 27 per cent more likely to think AI is a just a gimmick than businesses in other sectors.

“While we will hopefully not need to face another global pandemic in the near future, there are other, potentially even more disruptive forces at play, which could soon have an even greater impact on the way we live and work,” said Colin Crow, managing director, Nexer. “All industries absolutely need to be prepared for these changes, and technology will undoubtedly play an increasingly central role in business success going forward. We hope that more retailers will realise this, and take positive action before it’s too late.”

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