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Retailers invest in tech to address pain points

The insight: Despite softer consumer spending, the majority (68%) of retailers plan to spend more on tech initiatives over the next three years, per a report by Coresight Research and VMware.

  • Nearly three in 10 (29%) say they expect to increase spending by 10% or more.

Zoom in: Much of that investment will go to improving the digital experience: 75% of retail executives intend to spend more on ecommerce, per Mercaux’s Pulse of Retail 2023 report.

  • But with more shoppers returning to stores, brick-and-mortar investment is also ramping up. Half of retail executives plan to increase spending on in-store technologies to improve the omnichannel experience and offer more convenience to shoppers.
  • Three-quarters of retailers are looking to reduce friction by transitioning away from traditional point-of-sale (POS) systems to eliminate lines, which could get rid of a major pain point for shoppers.
  • For example, Kroger is testing a smart shopping cart—similar to Amazon’s Dash Cart—that uses cameras and sensors to track what customers put in it, eliminating the need for shoppers to wait on a checkout line. Other retailers, like Nordstrom, are looking to outfit associates with smartphones capable of accepting payments so shoppers can check out anywhere in the store.

The big takeaway: Improving the customer experience will be key as retailers navigate a period of slowing growth and cautious consumer spending. But technology can only get companies so far—retailers also have to address the customer service element by hiring enough staff and giving them the training and tools they need to succeed.