For many retailers the focus this year will be on cost control and maintaining margins rather than revenue growth. Yet research from Planet Retail shows that an astute use of technology helps retailers achieve better margins, lower costs and higher sales.

In its latest report – Retail Technology Trends 2011 – Planet Retail highlights five technology trends which it believes will help to drive growth in the industry.

While there are many retailers out there who don’t have the luxury of thinking about longer term concerns right now, those who can must consider technology as part of their strategy for positioning themselves for growth in 2012 and beyond.

The five trends cover all aspects of retail – and all levels of investment – so there should be something suitable for retailers of all types. While Planet Retail gives a global view, all the trends are also applicable to the UK retail industry:

  • Self-service at the point of sale
  • Customer-facing technologies: especially those utilising smart phones
  • Price and range optimisation solutions
  • New uses for RFID
  • Significant distribution centre automation

The day-to-day activity of keeping the lights on for existing systems, and updating core systems will be what continues to occupy most of a retail IT department’s time. But these trends will be important to whether your IT department helps you deliver competitive advantage in the next few years.