About 65% of 300 retail IT managers and c-level professionals in the U.S. and U.K. that were recently surveyed about their technology priorities said mobile payments technology is the innovation most in-demand in their ogranizations, according to research from Zynstra, a U.K.-based enterprise-grade IT software provider.
While mobile payments technology was the far and away leader, about 49% said self-checkout capabilities are important, and similar time-savers like scan as you shop (44%), click and collect (41%) also finished strong.
Another 37% said in-store customer analytics were chiefly important, according to the survey.
A lot of retailers want to support mobile payments, so either they haven't heard about recent research suggesting that consumer adoption of major mobile wallets has slowed, or they don't believe it. There are of course other reports that say mobile payments are about to explode, so in buying into the hype, at least these retailers are not alone.
In reality, all of the technologies mentioned in this survey are important to the future of brick-and-mortar stores, and it's difficult to truly say one is more urgent than another. What did all the retailers surveyed agree on? Well, 97% said that technology needs make IT a strategic asset to their companies. Also, 70% of respondents said IT could enable them to meet other future demands, including reducing operating costs, speeding up roll-out of new stores, supporting new business opportunities and streamlining IT management.
Strangely, that vote of confidence in IT comes as Wal-Mart recently has announced job cuts at its Information Systems Division, and as outsourcing of IT functions and projects has increased across the retail sector in recent years. So maybe it is not surprising then to find that only 48% of those retail officials so excited about the value of IT said they had the proper resources, support and infrastructure to meet their current demands.
Retailers want to invest in new technology more than ever before, but there is a pretty apparent conflict they need to resolve in order to pursue these interests. Either they need to remain invested in their own IT organizations, or become extremely reliant on partners and outsourcing firms to champion their technology causes.