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Five Charts: The State of Retail Tech

What Areas Are Retailers Investing In?

Retail is undergoing a technological transformation that is driving retailers to automate redundant tasks and revamp their mobile strategies.

According to Gartner, worldwide retail tech spending will increase 3.6% to $203.6 billion in 2019.

Retailers are investing more in technology at a time when many firms are growing their mobile operations. In a study published in September by VoucherCodes and WBR Insights, 75% of senior retail executives from the UK and France said they plan to invest heavily in developing mobile apps, coupons and payments.

Similarly, in a recent Retail Touchpoints survey of 115 US retail professionals, new technology and mobile technology were the most-cited areas for in-store budget increases in 2018.

What Technologies Are Retailers Already Using?

Ecommerce platforms and point-of-sale (POS) systems are the most commonly used retail technologies, according to an October study of 235 US retail professionals by Total Retail, Radial and NAPCO Media. Just around one in five respondents said they used fraud prevention software, personalization products and content management systems.

How Do Shoppers Feel About Retail Tech?

Consumers have mixed feelings—and it depends on the tech.

A SAS study conducted in March 2018 revealed that nearly half (47%) of shoppers said they're comfortable with the use of AI in business interactions.

But what about self-checkouts? Many still prefer to use cashiers. And as for clothing with sensors that allow retailers to track users in exchange for discounts, most respondents polled by RichRelevance found that to be very creepy.

Are Retailers Concerned About Data Privacy?

Given that data breaches and consumer privacy issues frequently make headlines, retailers should be cautious about how they use new technologies and data-driven products that can be perceived as invasive.

The results of RichRelevance's study reflect that data privacy has become a sensitive topic for retailers.

Furthermore, a June 2018 poll of 100 US retail marketing leaders by Nanigans and Advertiser Perceptions found that the majority of respondents (58%) were actively discussing data privacy and security issues.