Visual search, voice recognition, mobile apps and artificial intelligence will be key technology investment areas this year as retailers step up their digital transformation efforts.

Our latest report, Cutting Through The Hype, produced in association with Isobar, shines a spotlight on why retailers should invest in these areas to drive long-term customer value and deliver ROI.

October 2018 figures from Gartner show technology spending in global retail will grow 3.6% in 2019 to reach almost $203.6bn (£156bn), with similar growth rates forecast for the following two years.

Yet, knowing which areas to invest in is a perpetual problem for retailers. With that in mind, our new report aims to help leaders prioritise investment in the best areas.

Isobar infographic

What this shows 

eTail Connect, an industry event that brings together senior leaders in ecommerce, surveyed 136 retailers to find out which technologies they are investing in. The data shows that areas such as visual and voice search, along with AI and a mobile-first approach, are currently hot areas for investment as retailers look to really deliver on the experience expected by customers.

Customer experience

Retailers have long talked about being customer-centric and, as the above table shows, investments are now becoming very focused in this area.

The report examines how customer experience falls into two areas. At one end, retailers such as Amazon remove friction and focus on speed of delivery, convenience and efficiency. At the other, retailers such as Rapha focus on creating a community and hub-like stores. And those that fall in the middle may struggle to find their place in the customers’ lives in the long run.

Cutting Through The Hype looks at whether voice and visual search, along with augmented and virtual reality and progressive web apps – essentially mobile websites that look and act like mobile apps – can really drive ROI in retail.

“One area notably gaining traction is AI. PwC estimates it could provide a 10% boost to the UK economy by 2030”

It also examines how retailers need to get the basics right in the back office first, and looks at whether technologies such as robotics and choosing the right web platform can make a difference.

One area notably gaining traction is AI. PwC estimates it could provide a 10% (£232bn) boost to the UK economy by 2030.

AI has the power to touch every part of a retailer’s business, from data management, buying and merchandising through to stores and warehousing.

Isobar whitepaper cover

Download the report today

To find out which technologies you should be investing in, download your free copy of Cutting Through The Hype: Defining your 2019 tech strategy and driving results today.