As retailers continue to digitize consumer-facing experiences, a call for equally aligned internal infrastructures has emerged in order to execute these efforts. A recent report released by Planet Retail in partnership with Digimarc, titled, “Harnessing the Power of Digital Transformation,” details the current struggles found within the market and highlights best practices among industry leaders.

The research, spearheaded by Digimarc, a solution-provider that offers recognition technologies through its Intuitive Computing Platform, aimed to uncover the ramifications of shifting consumer behavior on retailers. A survey was conducted among senior-level decision-makers across the U.S., the U.K., Japan and Germany in categories spanning retail, cosmetics, fashion and luxury goods, and electronics, among others.

Technology can enable moments of delight for the customer, with infinite choice, offers and delivery options, [but] a failure to adopt similarly digitally driven processes throughout product development, supply chain and customer-facing operations is, in fact, holding retailers back,” the report said. The analysis found a resounding willingness by the retail industry to finally embrace new technologies despite challenges in unrolling the solutions from a logistical standpoint.

Embracing new technologies is also seen as bolstering the bottom line. “Sixty-three percent of retailers said that improving in-store and online customer service will have the greatest impact on their organization’s profit,” the researchers of the report noted.

This also requires deploying investments across the entire business structure — front end and back end. The study went on to say, “The research confirmed that frontline IT investment would likely be coupled with an increasing focus on the supply chain efficiency needed to support omnichannel commerce.”

Gap Avametric Google Tango Asus

Avametric and Gap teamed on the shopping app Dressing Room by Gap.  Courtesy Photo

Executives have come to understand that while the role of physical stores might be shifting, consumers still value visiting brick-and-mortars. “Operational and logistical infrastructure required to support such a proposition has risen up the agenda to now put pressure on retailers to match physical store and supply chain investment levels with those they must now also devote to non-store sales and engagement,” the report said.

Additionally, technology being deployed needs to provide multifaceted solutions for consumer-facing experiences and the necessary back-end support to avoid redundancies and supply chain inefficiencies. According to the study, 65 percent of the participating retailers said having real-time insights and control over inventory through the entire supply chain is a necessity.

And though many retailers continue their quest to discover a “silver bullet” to satisfy their current needs, many are realizing it isn’t worth the wait. The report said, “Only through the digital modernization of their own automated systems will retailers truly be able to grow sales efficiently and enrich shopper engagement effectively at any and every physical and digital touch point.” Seventy-four percent of the retail IT participants disclosed that upgrading data collection capabilities throughout the entire supply chain will not only improve internal workflow, but also product flow and on-shelf availability.

More on Retail Solutions from WWD:

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