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Outdated IT limits retail gains from customer data

Legacy IT systems are making it more difficult for retailers to collect and use customer data to improve services

More than half of retailers are prevented from making use of customer data as a result of complex legacy IT systems, according to research.

A study by tech supplier Daisy found 69% of retailers claimed complex IT systems were preventing them from implementing new technology trials and innovating online or in-store.

Legacy systems were cited as a barrier for innovation and productivity by 46% of retailers, and 67% believed their old tech made them less able to compete in current markets than those with modern retail technology.

In recent years, retailers have been moving to an omni-channel approach, whereby customers expect a seamless and personalised experience regardless of the method they use to interact with a brand. As part of this, more than half of retailers plan to focus on improving the in-store experience.

“The importance of the store as part of a retailer’s future plans cannot be underestimated,” said James Pickering, retail specialist at Daisy Corporate Services. “The old approach of buying a piece of equipment and using it for 20 years is now making retailers less competitive, compared to those using technologies that are faster and more flexible.”

To improve the seamless omni-channel experience, retailers intend to make significant investments in IT in the next year, with 49% planning to invest in digital signage, 49% planning to invest in their websites and 48% planning to invest in data and analytics to properly analyse customer data.

Physical stores are becoming a kind of brand showroom where customers make decisions as opposed to purchases, with many in the industry predicting stores and shopping centres will become platforms for experiences rather than simply shopping establishments.

Read more about omni-channel retail

  • Online spending increases in 2015/16 as face-to-face transactions remain stagnant, finds Visa.
  • Head of e-commerce at retailer Ecco Dana Schwartz explains how the firm’s transformational journey happened as a result of e-commerce adoption.

As well as digital signage, 17% of retailers hope to invest in geo-location technology to better target customers.

Almost 80% of the retailers surveyed believed lack of Wi-Fi availability in stores prevented them from collecting and using customer data for marketing activities, and 92% said they wanted to implement in-store Wi-Fi in the next two years.

But although capturing and analysing customer data can help retailers personalise customer experiences, with the aim of making them more loyal to the brand, many retailers are overwhelmed by the increasing amount of data they have access to.

Read more on IT for retail and logistics

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