Leaders from 500 of the nation’s most influential retailers have taken part in a detailed study to reveal which technologies will be at the forefront of retail strategies during the year ahead.
The new study by Brightpearl, a world leading retail operating system, investigated which types of software UK retailers are set to invest in over the next 12 months. It found that half (50%) of retailers plan to increase their technology investments, while only 4% will decrease their spend.
It comes as growth projections estimate that by 2023, online e-commerce sales will exceed $29.7 trillion worldwide.
This year alone, online retailers have been seeing year-on-year sales increases of upwards of 700%, according to internal analysis of Brightpearl’s 3,000 strong customer base, which includes brands like Holland & Cooper, Shopify and Biscuiteers
What’s more, according to Brightpearl researchers, one fifth of UK shoppers claim they will only shop online in the next five years, highlighting how integral online shopping has become to the majority of Brits.
Brightpearl’s study found that online firms are now prioritising investment in major technology initiatives that include: e-commerce software (25%), social media marketing (25%), a broadening of online payment options (24%), and investment behind the ‘buy button’ into retail operations (22%).
“There has been a big shift to online shopping since the onset of the pandemic, and in this new Hyper-Scalable Era we’re seeing online retailers reporting incredible growth rates,” says Stuart Pick, VP Global Alliances at Brightpearl.
“In the race to attract direct sales, it’s no surprise that online companies are planning investments that will have a major impact on conversion rates. However, what’s interesting is that the data suggests a huge shift to back-end business investment as e-commerce brands seek to address the operational complexities that lie beyond the buy button.”
Brightpearl data reveals that 61% of consumers have experienced issues buying from brands online since the onset of the pandemic.
The study also found 77% of all poor online shopping experiences are directly related to problems that happen after a consumer hits the buy button — namely issues with delivery and returns, such as not receiving items on time, or products not being delivered where they should be.
“Investment in key areas that are ‘behind the scenes’ like delivery, inventory management and retail operations are a reaction to the problems associated with operational complexity,” says Stuart Pick. “Adding these solutions will go a long way in helping retailers enhance the experience customers receive and to adapt to their ever-changing demands – whether that’s the channels they buy on, the way they pay, or how they choose to communicate with you.
“As this data makes clear, companies weighing up technology investments should start with making sure they have the right infrastructure in place to deliver an optimal shopping experience at all ends of the buying journey.”
Brightpearl’s study also reveals that nearly a third (30%) of online firms are planning to make technology investments this year primarily as a way of helping them to adapt to a new changing retail environment.
“The pandemic has been like a meteor hitting the retail sector, and software investment decisions are now reflecting an increasing need for agility in a volatile environment,” adds Brightpearl’s Stuart Pick. “Unfortunately, time is not a luxury retailers have. To avoid failure, merchants must quickly adapt to the conditions of the new retail landscape, with the right partners and systems in place to ensure the entire retail operation is fit for purpose.” Top 10 Investment Priorities For 2022
- E-commerce software (25%)
- Social media marketing (25%)
- Online payments (24%)
- Retail operations (22%)
- Delivery tracking (22%)
- Customer service (20%)
- Inventory management 20%
- Supply chain 20%
- Customer reviews 18%
- Warehouse management (17%)
Brightpearl has distilled the data, including the investment trends of e-commerce firms by size and category, into a new report, available here.
Bristol-based Brightpearl works with thousands of retailers introducing software that puts orders, inventory, financials, POS (point of sale) and CRM (customer relationship management) in one place.