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Retail Technology, Retail technology News

Customers let down by outdated IT systems

Thursday May 24 2012

Retailers say responding faster across all channels is a priority, according to recent survey

Retailers say responding faster across all channels is a priority, according to recent survey


More than a third of retailers are unable to respond quickly to ever-changing customer demands due to outdated IT, according to a survey by multichannel retail and wholesale IT provider Celtech.


Ninety out of 100 retailers questioned, which included Tesco, Marks & Spencer and Schuh, considered themselves a multichannel business. Yet more than half (53%) admitted they were not integrated across all channels.


The survey found three top headaches for these retailers. The first was introducing new channels to enhance competitiveness.


Responding faster to customer demands came in second of the top three challenges.


The third was providing a seamless and consistent experience for customers across all channels.


In reference to the reasons behind these challenges, less than a quarter (22%) felt they currently had good visibility of their business.


Adopting multichannel IT systems


Just over a third (37%) said they would like their IT systems to provide greater visibility of the business, allowing them to respond faster to customer demands.


Nearly half of retailers (42%) said their IT systems were holding them back and would consider changing them. Future-proofing the technology and business (82%), keeping ahead of the competition (68%) and improving visibility (66%) were the top three drivers of IT change.


However, only 19% said they were keen to adopt innovative technology to get ahead of competitors.


More than a third of respondents (37%) admitted they were only willing to try new solutions when addressing a pressing business need.


Darragh Fanning, Celtech chief executive, said that the findings indicate a worrying pattern: awareness that existing technologies could be hindering business potential was high, but the majority of retailers were not actively looking for new solutions.


A true real-time multichannel IT system could provide “the ability to see exactly what is happening as it happens,” according to Fanning, so “the business can react immediately to market changes and so provide the best possible service to their customers and position themselves ahead of their competition”.