Are retailers buying technology they actually value?

Last week I wrote about one of the most pressing problems that retailers tell us plagues their stores today: the desperate need for systems overhauls for both customer and employee facing technologies. However, even though retailers understand that the store needs help, in our latest Store Report, they tell us they just don't know how to "get there".

Just how big is this disconnect? Retailers continue to purchase store technologies without even ascribing high value to those very solutions. The most valued technologies that available to them today are in-store fulfilment tools – and just barely more than half of our retail respondents see value in those. Few charts have been more telling of the current breakdown between knowledge and action in our industry today.

Figure: Buying What We Value?

(Source: RSR Research, June 2014)

What's worse, their lack of confidence in specific solution value is not keeping retailers from moving forward. The following chart shows retailer plans in the coming months and years.

Figure: Second Verse, Same as the First

(Source: RSR Research, June 2014)

Not only have retailers purchased a series of technologies that they don't find particularly valuable, but they plan to keep on doing so. This begs the question: If retailers are unsure of solution value, yet continue to purchase those solutions, how will they know if they actually add value?

The fault lies not in the selection or the solution. It lies in lack of meaningful Key Performance Indicators to determine success. RSR’s previous studies have shown that every technology’s effectiveness is gauged based on its impact on sales and margin. Longtime retailers know these numbers are volatile, and can be affected by everything from the weather, to payroll tax increases. Pilot programs will help, but long-term metrics for success are necessary to evaluate success.

We take a detailed dive into these metrics – as well as some recommendations for ways to move forward – in the full benchmark report. It is available by following this link, and we certainly hope you have a chance to read it.

This article originally appeared as 'The other problem with stores…' on the RSR Research website. It is reproduced with the organisation's permission.