Retailers’ Top IT Priorities for 2024

The retail landscape is undergoing a significant transformation, with technology playing a pivotal role in driving growth and operational efficiency. Our recent study is titled “Winning the Race of Innovation“, which we did in partnership with RIS News. The study offers valuable insights into the IT priorities that are expected to have the most significant impact on the industry’s performance and customer experience. In short, they are set to define the retail industry in 2024.

Retailer Tech Priorities in 2024

Top IT Priority – Empowering Store Associates

One of the key IT priorities for retailers in for the past several years is the empowerment of store associates. This priority underscores the strategic focus on bridging the gap between the store and online experiences for customers. Retailers place a strong emphasis on leveraging technology to enhance the in-store customer journey.

Personalizing the Customer Experience

Personalization the customer experience is another critical IT priority. Retailers increasingly invest in technologies that enable them to tailor the customer experience.  They seek to drive customer engagement and loyalty by understanding the how, the where, and the when of the customer’s desire to interact.

Inventory Visibility

Inventory visibility continues to demonstrate significant importance for retailers. The panic buying during COVID and the ensuing supply chain issues showed the need for knowing where all inventory sits. The additional digital customer journeys (BOPIS, etc) that retailers established served to heighten the need for inventory visibility. In times of uncertainty, retailers place a strategic focus on technologies that provide comprehensive insights into their stock positions. This ultimately drives operational efficiency and customer satisfaction.

Traditional Store Technologies

Traditional store technologies (here represented by payment terminals and POS systems, among others) continue to hold significant priority retailers. These technologies play a crucial role in enhancing the in-store customer experience and driving operational efficiency.

Emerging Technologies

The data also highlights the use of emerging technologies that are gaining traction in the retail industry. Geo-location, microservices, and RFID, plus a host of others, are having a significant impact on the future of retail.

Artificial Intelligence

The increasing adoption of AI / ML in retail solutions is a key IT priority for retailers. The transformative impact of these technologies on sales growth and profit multipliers is evident. Those retailers already leveraging AI/ML are experiencing significant gains in financial performance.

Leader IT Priorities Differ from Other Retailers

For this study, we defined retail “Leaders” as those with annual sales growth >10% for 2023. In digging through the data, we found significant differences between the technologies that Leaders prioritize and those of other retailers. In some cases, the priority that Leaders place on a technology is lower than that of other retailers. Upgrading CRM is one such example, where Leaders have already deployed the technology, optimized it, and moved on. Such comparisons shed light on the contrast in strategic focus and technology adoption patterns, and make clear the differences in growth and operational performance.

Retailer Tech Priorities by category

Final Thoughts

Going forward, our “Winning the Race of Innovation” study provides valuable insights into the IT priorities that are set to shape the retail industry in 2024. The strategic focus on empowering store associates, personalizing the customer experience, and embracing emerging technologies underscores the industry’s commitment to driving growth and enhancing customer experiences through technology investments.