Technology disrupting Australian retail
Three in four Australian retailers agree that technical change is causing a major disruption in their industry, but many have yet to fully embrace technology transformation, research suggests.
A survey conducted by the Australian Retailers Association and Pronto Software found that only half of retailers have invested in deploying a point-of-sale platform that can take electronic payments while offline.
In addition, just 62% of respondents are investing or planning to invest in social media platforms over the next 12 months.
Meanwhile, although 43% of respondents report that they intend to leverage reporting and analytics to improve profitability and operational efficiency, only 22% have a loyalty program that is integrated and available across their stores.
Only 53% of Australian retailers have invested in tools that give them access to real-time sales and inventory insights, and 71% of respondents have yet to embrace integrated front- and back-end ICT systems.
Another significant gap is in security preparedness, with only 25% of respondents recognising the importance of urgently securing vulnerable systems.
"With the pressure for retailers to maintain a good IT security posture at an all-time high, the results surrounding how few retailers have IT security front of mind is concerning," Zimmerman said.
The survey results also suggest that the entry of Amazon into the Australian market is not having as big an impact on the Australian retail sector as some had been expecting.
While 85% of retailers report valuing having an online sales channel, despite the recent launch of Amazon in Australia, only 15% of respondents are planning an online marketplace-only strategy.
"Retailers say that integrating with marketplaces, such as Amazon, can be difficult, given that by their very nature, they are designed to benefit the customers. Many retailers find that they are competing on price where in the past they may not have had to compete in such a highly price sensitive market," ARA Executive Director Russell Zimmerman said.
But the disruptive pressures facing the market and the development of new advancements in areas including blockchain and artificial intelligence will require retailers to move quickly to adapt, he added.
"The current retailing experience in Australia continues to harbour a number of points of friction. Our industry tends to be accustomed to measured, strategic planning but the pace of change in retail now demands rapid action."
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