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Ecommerce & mobile is now retail’s top IT priority


UK retailers are now spending more on eCommerce & m-commerce than any other area of IT, new research has revealed.

The annual ‘IT in Retail’ report shows that money spend on these emerging channels has now outstripped spending on in-store system which had been major traders top priority for the last nine years.

Money invested in improving online and mobile solutions grew from 17 per cent to 23 per cent according to the study, which analyses IT expenditure by the UK’s leading 100 retailers.

Conducted by Martec International and sponsored by BT Expedite, the research found that despite company finances being squeezed at present, large retailers are still investing in their general tech.

Investment in new or replacement head office systems is up, with 25 per cent of retailers planning to replace merchandise management systems, an increase of eight per cent over last year

Also 15 per cent intend to replace their merchandise planning systems and six per cent are implementing one for the first time.

Richard Lowe, CEO, BT Expedite, said: “Retailers are generally holding IT spending constant again in 2011.

“But there’s a positive indication of an increase of retailers planning to upgrade key business systems to keep pace with the continuing shift to multichannel retailing, as well as the growth of mobile internet access and m-commerce.

“If this happens IT spend next year is likely to increase, but is dependent on both local, and increasingly, international economic factors.”

Overall IT spending which represents around 1.1 per cent of revenues, has fallen by one per cent this year although the report suggests this is due to multichannel spending often not being categorised as IT.

According to the report 16 per cent of retailer already use m-commerce, up from five per cent last year, and a further 12 per cent are planning to take it up in the near future.

Incredibly, considering its growing importance to consumers, 24 per cent of the top 100 retailers still do not have a transactional website, although five per cent of these firms are set to launch one.

Brian Hume, managing director, Martec International, added: “Many retailers are struggling to keep pace with the rapidly changing requirements of multichannel operations with legacy systems slowing them down. Replacing these systems is vital for gaining competitive advantage.

“Consumers expect a seamless experience across all channels and retailers need to offer a single stock pool that can be accessed from all customer touch points, such as smartphones to check stock availability, pricing and product information.”

Published on Friday 15 July by Editorial Assistant

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