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The Future of IT in the Retail Industry—United States and Europe

  • July 2014
  • 69 pages
  • Frost & Sullivan
Report ID: 2238110

Summary

Table of Contents

An End User Perspective

The overall research objective is to measure the current use and future decision making behavior toward information technology (IT) within the retail sector. Overall, almost all of the IT sector is expecting growth over the next 3 years, which makes it a good time for IT companies to invest in marketing and sales. However, it is important to keep in mind that IT budgets are far lower in the retail industry than in other major verticals. As such, retailers have clear spending priorities: not surprisingly, they want to invest in IT in order to attract and retain customers. The retail industry is further along the learning curve with regard to mobile technologies, but lacks an understanding of the benefits of unified communications.

Research Objectives
The overall research objective is to measure the current use and future decision making behavior toward information technology (IT) within the retail industry, specifically: smart phones, tablets, mobile apps, cloud computing, video, audio, and web conferencing, Internet Protocol (IP) telephony, enterprise and consumer social media, unified communications client (UCC), time-division multiplexing (TDM) phones, business grade and consumer softphones, customer relationship management (CRM), headsets, machine-to-machine (M2M) communications, and mobile device management (MDM).
Specifically, Frost & Sullivan aims to:
-Understand the IT-related challenges organizations face today
-Assess the current and future use of enterprise communications technologies
-Evaluate factors that drive investments in enterprise communications technologies
-Gauge the communications infrastructure trends
-Appraise the available IT budgets
-Measure the impact the workface has on IT

Methodology
Using a Web-based survey methodology during September and October 2013, Frost & Sullivan surveyed 158 IT decision makers working in the retail industry, located in the United States and in Europe, who were involved in the company’s IT-related purchases.
Frost & Sullivan’s survey methodology uses online panels to source only qualified respondents. Respondents must meet requirements set by a screening process prior to full survey participation. Online panels consist of individuals who volunteer to participate in Web-based surveys and typically receive compensation directly from their panel membership for participating in qualified survey research. In general, survey respondents do not receive direct compensation from Frost & Sullivan for participating in research projects.
Reporting Notes
Due to rounding, percentages in charts and tables may not sum to .

Executive Summary
-We have found many opportunities in the retail industry for IT companies through this research.
-The highest growth is expected in tablets, machine-to-machine (M2M), and softphones.
-Almost all of the IT industry will see growth over the next 3 years, which makes this a good time for IT companies to increase spending in marketing and sales. However, it is important to keep in mind that IT budgets are far lower in the retail industry than other major verticals. As such, retailers have clear priorities on where to direct their IT spending.
-The retail industry is further along the learning curve with regard to mobile technologies, but lacks an understanding of the benefits of unified communications.
-Not surprisingly, the retail industry invests in IT to attract and retain customers. Improving productivity and marketing effectiveness are also major factors.
-This industry is moving away from purchasing multiple products from multiple vendors and towards either 1) tightly integrated solutions from multiple vendors or 2) end-to-end solutions from one vendor.
-The retail industry is more concerned about its external customer-facing social media strategy than internal employee collaboration. By next year, almost two-thirds of retail businesses are expected to have an external strategy. Social media definitely plays a major role in consumer decisions for a wide range of products - from small household items to high-end technologies.
-Retail companies are definitely seeing value in the cloud; email is the top application moved to the cloud.
-Education will be key for IT companies to leverage retailers’ growing interest in mobile devices, unified communications (UC), cloud services, and social media. There is much to be gained for retailers by investing in IT; most importantly, IT can help them meet some of their main goals very effectively – such as attaining and retaining customers, improving productivity, improving marketing effectiveness, and staying ahead of the curve.

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