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10/04/2022

Survey: Growing complexity of digital commerce challenges retailer confidence

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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Retailers face issues in managing digital commerce.

Retailers expect digital commerce operations to grow more complicated, and many are unsure they are ready to manage.

Retailers expect major increases in operational requirements around fulfillment and digital-related functions during 2023, according to an executive survey by Fluent Commerce, Commercetools, Contentstack, and Incisiv.

The research revealed that arge percentages of surveyed retailers expect growth in the amount of digital activity in their enterprises:

  • 81% of respondents expect their product returns to increase;
  • 69% of respondents will increase their online SKUs;
  • 67% of respondents will increase the number of digital assets they utilize; and
  • 65% of respondents expect the number of store-fulfilled digital orders to increase.

However, more than half of respondents in the Digital Complexity: Thriving in Unpredictable Times report say they are underprepared to effectively manage these increased digital enterprise operations:

  • 46% of respondents stated they will be effective in managing the growth of their product returns;
  • 43% of respondents stated they will be effective in managing their online SKU growth;
  • 32% of respondents stated they will be effective in managing the variety of their digital assets; and
  • 35% of respondents stated they will be effective in managing their store order fulfillment.

Roughly four in 10 respondents said their current technology architecture would fall short in supporting crucial fulfillment-related tasks:

  • 39% of respondents stated their current store fulfillment platform will not meet their needs;
  • 40% of respondents stated their personalization platform won’t meet their needs;
  • 42% respondents stated their product catalog system won’t meet their needs; and
  • 43% of respondents stated their content management system won’t meet their needs.

“As digital demand regresses to the mean, and with increasing macroeconomic uncertainty, the fight for the shopper dollar will intensify over the next 12 months. Delivering on the fundamentals of inventory availability and anywhere fulfillment is critical and there is still a lot of work to be done in this area. Building a personalized and relevant shopper experience is where the leaders are focused,” said Gaurav Pant, chief insights officer, Incisiv.

Incisiv, Fluent Commerce, commercetools, and Contentstack conducted an executive survey with retail leaders in the U.S., U.K., France, and Germany. The survey and analysis were conducted in Q2 and Q3 2022 and received over 350 responses. Nearly 90% (86%) of respondents were in director or above roles.

Rackspace: Cybersecurity is also a major retail IT issue
According to results of a recent survey exclusively released to Chain Store Age by Rackspace Technology, retailers are also concerned about their ability to maintain cybersecurity. Six in 10 (59%) surveyed retail IT leaders cited cybersecurity as one of their C-suite’s top-three business concerns, while fewer than four in 10 (38%) said they are fully prepared to respond to cybersecurity attacks and threats.

A majority of surveyed retail IT executives report being either unprepared or only “somewhat prepared” to respond to major threats, such as identifying and mitigating threats and areas of concern (67%), recovering from cyberattacks (61%) or preventing lapses and breaches (62%).

And when asked to name the top three cybersecurity challenges their organization is facing, a leading 42% of retail respondents said migrating and operating apps to the cloud led the way, followed by a shortage of workers with cybersecurity skills (39%), and a lack of visibility of vulnerabilities across all infrastructure (37%).