New Technologies are a hurdle for B2B retailers
Retail software has greatly influenced the direction of the retail industry over the past two decades, particularly with the rise of the Internet and eCommerce operations. More recently, advances in cloud computing and mobile devices have also played a huge role in improving both the customer-facing side of retail as well as back-end operations.
Struggling to adapt to the times
However, a new report from Forrester suggested that business-to-business merchants may not be adjusting well to the rise of new technologies, with many respondents lacking a well-defined strategy for using modern retail software to streamline and improve their back-end operations. Only 21 percent of the polled B2B retail executives said they had a “clear vision for digital in their business,” while as few as 15 percent have the right tools in place to “execute their digital strategy.”
As one would expect, the respondents understood that the inability to capitalize on new technologies is a huge hindrance. As many as 86 percent of B2B retail CEOs expect to deal with new challenges and obstacles from consumers and competitors who embrace digital tools to improve functions, such as digital merchandising and marketing.
Although the study looked at a variety of B2B sectors, ranging from health care organizations to utilities providers, B2B retailers were among the least prepared to capitalize on new retail software. Approximately four in five retail respondents struggle with the implementation and usage of new technologies.
“Business leaders don’t think of digital as central to their business because in the past, it hasn’t been. But now your customers, your products, your business operations, and your competitors are fundamentally digital,” study authors Nigel Fenwick and Martin Gill urged.
“You must harness digital technologies, both to deliver a superior customer experience and to drive the agility and operational efficiency you need to stay competitive,” they added.
Making the appropriate adjustments
It should come as no surprise that B2C and B2B retailers are implementing new technologies to keep up with competitors and improve their eCommerce operations. However, the report illustrated that integrating new solutions into business systems isn’t something that can just be done, as it requires a lot of foresight and planning.
The fact of the matter is that retail software simply provides too many benefits for merchants to ignore. According to a separate report from the National Retail Federation, as many as 80 percent of B2B retailers expect to either maintain or increase store technology investments, while 70 percent are currently deploying or updating retail software.
B2B retailers need to carefully consider how new technologies can help them improve customer satisfaction and the overall shopping experience, as well as their own back-end operations and cost-reduction efforts. This should guide their investments and help them identify which solutions can best help them achieve those goals.