Doomsday predictors notwithstanding, physical retailers actually see tremendous opportunities for their stores in the near future, according to new research from Retail Systems Research. The firm recently released its 2018 Retail Store Benchmark Report, From Apocalypse to Renaissance.

“Surprisingly few retailers plan to reduce their store counts,” said Paula Rosenblum, managing partner at RSR Research and co-author of the report, in a news release. “Instead, retailers believe they can leverage their digital assets to make the store more convenient, personal and inviting. Over-performers in particular recognize the importance of technology in creating this renaissance.”

From apocalypse to renaissance—retail store future brighter than expected

Key findings of the research:

  • Consumer price sensitivity continues to place downward pressures on gross margin, leaving the pool of funds available for improvements somewhat limited
  • Retailers’ biggest opportunity comes from using technology to empower store employees with technology. And they know it—50 percent believe getting technology rolled out to stores is their greatest opportunity, even within current cost constraints
  • Legacy expectations for in-store technology spend rates still sit in the minds of Wall Street investors. It takes a brave management team to stand up to investors and say, “We are going to over-invest in new technologies until we get up to speed”

The study contains analysis of the business drivers, opportunities, and organizational constraints surrounding store-based operations within retail. It also examines retailers’ budgets and plans for technologies to help solve these problems, and ultimately offers baseline recommendations for navigating this brave new world for retailers.

Download the full report here (registration required).

From apocalypse to renaissance—retail store future brighter than expected

The report is part of RSR Research’s ongoing efforts to provide market intelligence on retail technology trends, sponsored by IBM, and is based on a survey of 182 retailers.

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