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Too much choice gets in way of tech roll-out

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A survey conducted by global supply chain and retail technology provider RedPrairie has revealed that retailers in the EMEA region are struggling to identify which technology programmes to implement next.

The survey of 55 companies, mainly in the UK and mainland Europe, sought to establish which strategies and technologies were emerging most strongly to meet the needs of social and mobile shoppers and identify barriers to implementation.

However, 61.5 per cent of respondents indicated that the inability to identify which options to implement, due to having too many choices, was the most significant challenge they faced when attempting to implement programmes to target social, mobile and local shoppers. Other challenges included the inability to easily integrate new sales channels into the commerce platform, limited inventory visibility across channels, a lack of executive commitment to these programmes, and the inability of stores to support new fulfilment and promotion requirements.

The most widely used programmes amongst those surveyed were those to receive orders and provide inventory availability and pricing via smartphones, as well as those that use QR codes to provide access to mobile content. Around 15 per cent of respondents already used social media platforms to present and sell merchandise: however, none were currently offering location-based marketing. A further 30 per cent planned to implement programmes to sell through social media platforms, while just 7.7 per cent had plans to push local offers to mobile devices in the next 12 months when shoppers are near a store.

Andrew Kirkwood, senior vice president at RedPrairie, said: ‚”In recent years, the industry has seen a steady rise of consumer adoption across a wide variety of devices, networks, platforms and applications. Within the past 18 months, there has been a dramatic increase in the adoption of these technologies into our daily lifestyle and shopping journeys. Many consumers are on a plethora of social networks, glued to their mobile devices and always looking for the latest deal from the local deal sites.‚”

Kirkwood continued, ‚”Our survey highlights that the majority of respondents still have some considerable way to go, and whilst the basics may be in place, the challenge is to prioritise new programmes to properly satisfy the rapidly evolving demands of these consumers and exploit the social, mobile and local shopping phenomenon.‚”

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