Retailers Struggle to Keep Up with Tech: Report 

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Retailers Struggle to Keep Up with Tech_ Report

Technology advancements in the last 5 years have delivered better performance, flexibility, and scalability, and are enabled by an ecosystem of technologies such as microservices, “headless” or “API-first” designs, and cloud-native SaaS platforms, and retailers are struggling to keep up. The real problem? Consumers are demanding that they do.

RSR Research, in partnership with Coveo Solutions Inc, an AI-powered relevance platforms that transform search, recommendations, and personalization within digital experiences, announced the release of a new report that provides insight into what eCommerce success will look like for retailers in 2022.

Growing site traffic and solidifying an Amazon strategy are two of the findings that emerged in Winning at Customer Acquisition in the Digital Shopping Age. RSR offered optimal strategies on how to be a successful commerce brand amidst the growing dominance of a handful of digital giants.

Respondents were asked to identify their priorities for 2022 and provide insight into the strategies they believe will have the biggest impact on the bottom line. Some of the most surprising findings from the report include:

83% named their most important priority as acquiring new site traffic, significantly more so than driving more onsite conversions (59%).

57% said that the majority of their customers begin their shopping journey on either Google or Amazon and 83% of respondents said that they have increased their interactions with Amazon over the past 12 months.

61% said digital experience has become an increasingly important part of their brand, followed by 56% saying their competition is doing a better job acting on customers’ expectations.

65% of retailers said more personalized offers and promotions are an important opportunity for an improved online shopping experience, and 61% said automatically suggesting relevant product recommendations would improve the online experience.

Over half of the time, a mere 5% of shoppers log in to retailers’ sites while shopping, most opting to wait until checkout or simply using guest checkout.

77% of respondents said that they are currently using AI and machine learning for search/product discovery and 21% said they are planning to do so within 18 months.

“The findings of this report surprised us in a number of ways,” said Steve Rowan, managing partner at Retail Systems Research. “Everyone knows Covid has turned the world upside down, but what we wanted to know going into this research was exactly what that means for retailers who’ve been trying to fill in every new gap (and the list of gaps in their businesses certainly keeps growing) with improved ecommerce. The very first thing they told us? Google advertising isn’t going to be enough anymore, and they’re starting to reevaluate the money they’ve been pouring into that channel for far more engaging tools going forward. It’s a true inflection point.”

“Opportunity starts once shoppers land on a retailer’s digital property,” said Brian McGlynn, GM of Commerce at Coveo. “Retailers should be asking themselves how they are going to meet customer expectations in a personalized and relevant way. Shockingly, according to this report, 40% of all retailers surveyed are using technology that is five years old or more – and that’s not going to cut it in today’s winner-take-all world. The only way to provide a hyper-personalized, relevant experience at scale is with AI. The good news is that 77% of respondents are currently using AI/ML for search and product discovery and 21% are planning to do so within the next 18 months. That is a critical first step. Retailers need to continue to embrace AI.”

Ninety-nine retail executives participated in the survey. They represented brands that sell apparel, footwear, consumer goods, general merchandise, and more, and with revenues that range from $5 billion to less than $250 million annually.