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Retailing lags in the innovation race, KCOM reveals

Multi-industry poll finds retailers are less likely to prioritise digital transformation and spend on innovation projects
  • 34 per cent rank lack of stakeholder support among their greatest challenges
  • Just 36 per cent say digital transformation is a priority in the next 12 months
  • Retail lags behind in security and technology

London, UK – 19 Jan 2019 – The retail industry is lagging behind other sectors in several key areas of technology innovation, according to new research commissioned by KCOM, the IT services provider.

The poll of business leaders and decision-makers in government, financial services, retail, healthcare, transport and logistics found that retailers will give less priority and budget to digital transformation initiatives compared to other industries.

Just over a third (36 per cent) of retailers said that plan to make digital transformation a priority in the next 12 months, compared to an average of 43 per cent across other sectors. Meanwhile, a quarter of retailers (26 per cent) spend at least 20 per cent of their IT budgets on innovation projects, compared to the average of 32 per cent.

Innovation is key to the retail sector as it struggles to cope with the impact of e-tail and uncertain consumer spending. However, KCOM, warns that the research shows a worrying complacency within the industry.

Retailers (74 per cent) are slightly more likely to invest in new technologies than average (71 per cent). Yet the sector lags significantly behind others when it comes to the adoption of identity management services and integration technologies that synchronise data between disparate systems.

“Security and integration are key technologies for the retail industry, ensuring they have a comprehensive understanding of their customers across every touchpoint and protect their sensitive data,” said James Schofield, Retail Consultant at KCOM. “While retail is doing slightly better than average when it comes to embracing cloud native applications and understanding the importance of investing in employee training, they cannot afford to delay investment in the technologies that will transform the customer experience and ensure that they remain relevant to a new generation of spenders.

“Like businesses in other sectors, retailers shouldn’t have to do this by themselves,” said James Schofield, Retail Consultant at KCOM. “By partnering with a full-service technology provider, they can benefit from advice and consultancy that will help them deliver meaningful innovation. Yet retailers are not harnessing this third-party expertise, with just six per cent saying that they use external consultants to help them with the innovation process, making it more likely that they will make uninformed choices.”

To read the full report, Clearing the path for innovation, click here

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