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Most retailers well on the way to digital transformation: study

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Most retailers are now well on the way towards digital transformation as online and physical shopping move closer together, a new study suggests.

More than two-thirds of retailers in nine countries, including the UK, now see digital transformation as essential to retail technology, and only 7% disagree, according to Digital Transformation Trends research by DataDriven for Fujitsu that questioned 197 ICT decision makers in February 2020. 

Respondents said their finance departments (63%) were the most likely to have completed digital transformation or got it well underway, followed by sales (62%), customer service and frontline retail operations (both 59%). The study also found that more than 34% of retailers now offered most of their products and services online, while many operate multichannel services such as click and collect. 

Richard Clarke, executive director, global retail at Fujitsu, said: “The retail industry is a lens through which we can see clearly many of the deep changes impacting society and the way we live. The impact of Covid-19 has accelerated retail trends that were already advancing – and are now unstoppable. The new Fujitsu study shows that retailers are responding determinedly to these forces and are well on the path towards digital transformation (DX). We commissioned this survey to provide deeper insights into how DX is gripping retail – and the fact that finance teams are leading the way along with sales and customer service reflects the strategic importance to the bottom line of an effective DX implementation.”

The study found that 69% see value in opening up stock levels and other retail data to buyers, while 21% had seen costs reduce, particularly in logistics, warehousing and transportation. Cloud is growing in take-up, with 32% opting for software as a service (SaaS) although 24% have in-house ICT processing, and 18% use off-the-shelf enterprise applications. Some 69% see AI as an opportunity, and the same proportion think that the Internet of Things (IoT) will eventually revolutionise retail.

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