The Internet of Things is set to become a reality for a significant number of ecommerce and multichannel retailers in coming years, according to research out this week.
Some 35% of ecommerce, multichannel and digital directors questioned for a study by commerce consultancy Salmon [IRDX VSMN] said enabling the Internet of Things was a priority as they looked to drive sales and improve the customer experience.
The research, which also questioned directors at wholesale and manufacturing companies, found that 61% were currently investing in the IoT, 69% in robots and 60% in machine learning.
More than half (53%) said they planned to invest in voice interface technology over the next five years, while almost three in five (59%) wanted to take advantage of virtual/mixed reality, 69% in robots and 60% in machine learning by 2022.
Through the research Salmon aimed to find out what drove businesses to choose one digital platform over another, and about the challenges, technologies and trends that companies would be investing in over the next five years. It found almost three-quarters (74%) planned to switch ecommerce platforms over the next year to 18 months – and more than a third (36%) said they found it difficult to invest in new technologies for fear of investing in the wrong thing. Almost half (47%) said they had previously wasted money on technology.
Salmon says it seems many ecommerce businesses aren’t ready for the future just yet: 29% don’t have the technology in place to cope with emerging trends in the next five years and 20% lack the tech to keep up with the niche players. Some are also fighting against the tide while trying to implement new technology with 30% saying that a major pain point when implementing an ecommerce platform is the businesses resistance to change.
Coping with more data is also a concern, as 92% of organisations agree they need to be able to better analyse consumer data, while 48% believe organising their business to react quickly to change will be a major challenge in the future. It will come as no surprise that 74% say they plan to switch ecommerce platform in the next 12-18 months, clearly recognising the importance of a platform that is ready to meet the future needs of the business and its customers.
Patrick Munden, global head of retail at Salmon, said: “Ecommerce is undoubtedly one of the most exciting and rapid developing industries, and it’s vital that companies continue to innovate to boost business and consumer demand. Exploring the latest technologies is no longer a nice-to-have but a must-have for any businesses expecting to drive sales and improve their customer experience. This latest research shows that, whilst many perceive technologies such as wearables, mixed/virtual reality and voice interfaces as the preserve of the tech-savvy consumer, wholesale, manufacturing and retailers are now investing heavily in this space.”