Gartner research director, Gail Daikoku, delivers the analyst's forecast for retail for the rest of 2011 and on into 2012 and 2013.
Leading retailers face continued budgetary pressures while looking to tap into emerging shopping patterns that place an even higher emphasis on customer processes.
Online access to information such as prices, promotions, stock availability and store location has put customers in greater control of the shopping process.
Retailers that fail to introduce processes and technology to capitalise on cross-channel shopping across key customer touch points will fall behind their competitors.
Gartner forecasts that Australian retailers will spend $2.9 billion on IT and telecommunications products and services in 2011. Growth is expected to remain relatively flat over the next few years.
Although retailers are looking toward growth, the legacy of the past few years means that retailers are operating in changed circumstances, and containing or reducing costs will remain a salient item on retailers’ agendas.
Ensure that all of your marketing and sales communications clearly articulate how your offerings support a retailer’s customer centricity or operational-efficiency strategy. Despite the challenges facing retail, IT spending will grow in applications, middleware and hardware in the next few years.
But the perception among CIOs is that their budgets are tight. Given the number of initiatives they plan to work on during the next two years, this is probably an accurate perception.
Hosted, software-as-a-service (SaaS), cloud and managed service models are becoming more widely accepted by retailers. Interest in these models intensified during the recession, as pricing was comparatively attractive to traditional deployment models.
Retailers considering purchasing new functionality in areas such as merchandise planning and management, demand planning, price or promotions optimisation, network design and BI are frequently evaluating hosted or SaaS models during selections.
For resellers: help retailers understand the shortcomings of their infrastructure while providing them with a simple incremental path toward a robust infrastructure.
Transformation projects are out of favor. Retailers will look for specific functionality to solve immediate pains, but will lack the appetite for large-scale projects.
Offerings and messaging must be tailored to the size of the retailer.