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More than half of retailers are ‘resistant’ to digital progress

New research by Sigma Dynamics reveals that businesses are at risk if they do not adapt to the digital revolution

More than half of retail industry C-suite executives, directors and senior managers (51%) are “resistant” to digital progress, according to a new survey by Sigma Dynamics.

The firm’s ‘Connected Enterprise’ report, commissioned in partnership with applied futurist Tom Cheesewright, revealed that retailers are skeptical about the benefits of implementing new business technology.

Some 60% are doubtful that it improves efficiency, 70% cynical about its ability to improve productivity, and 87% question its positive impact on customer relationships.

Colin Crow, managing director of Sigma Dynamics, said: “From these statistics we can infer that there are many retail leaders that have been burned by previous digital transformation efforts. It is unfortunately quite common for businesses to choose the wrong technologies, or roll them out without enough support for employees, which can be very costly mistakes.

“Some of these misconceptions are therefore understandable, but as the twin threats of Brexit and the Covid-19 have shown us over the past year, the business landscape can change with incredible speed.”

He added: “Organisations must be agile and open-minded in order to cope with the impact of these, and other, national and global challenges that we will all inevitably face, and it will soon become almost impossible for retailers to thrive without the help of strategically planned and implemented technological innovations.

“However, from our research it’s frustratingly clear that these events still have not served as a wake-up call for some complacent retail business leaders.”

Cheesewright said: “Covid-19 catalysed investment in technology, but that investment was often overdue. If we are to avoid playing catch-up when the next challenge hits – or the next opportunity appears – then we should be thinking now about what changes to our technology, processes, culture and models can best prepare us for the future.

“Making the right investments in technology, and skills, is a critical part of future-proofing any business, adding resilience and agility.”

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