99% of Retail Execs Predict Tech Surge With Double-digit Investment Increases


Tech investments expected to rise 10% on average in 2024, according to new survey results published by SoftServe

AUSTIN, Texas (Jan. 10, 2024)SoftServe, a premier IT consulting and digital services provider, today announced the results of its newest study on retailer technology, which found 99% of the 100 retail executives from large enterprises surveyed predict a surge of technology investments to happen this year. Across the board, investments are expected to increase by an average of 10%, while 94% of respondents reported technology to be a significant driver for new customers.

More key findings include:

  • 44% of retail executives say improving customer experience is one of retailers’ top 2024 goals driving technology priorities and strategies, followed by increasing customer retention (38%), and accelerating customer acquisition (32%)
  • 46% worry new technology investments don’t leverage or integrate with data and analytics
  • 71% cite store operations as the dominant area of business determining technology investments for the next year
  • 50% of retail executives plan to invest in AI-powered customer recommendations to increase customer engagement while 47% cite Generative AI as an investment priority

“With the rise of e-commerce and embedded finance – and now, AI – engrained in every fragment of the retail industry and its counterparts, executives are seeing technology measures as the only way forward to a competitive future,” said Mike Ortiz, SoftServe’s Segment Head of Retail. “From online carts to last-mile deliveries, or storefront shopping to contactless payments, retailers are thinking about how they can control and provide a seamless experience. Their chosen technology investments and predictions will be key in how these scenarios evolve and transform the industry in 2024.”

Retail Investments to Expect

Technology investments expected in 2024 expand beyond brick-and-mortar locations; aside from store operations driving most technology investment strategies, other drivers in sales and marketing, customer service and support, and supply chain and logistics, were highly ranked at 60%, 59%, and 58%, respectively.

Further, retailers have implemented and expect to continue investing in technologies like mobile apps (48%), enhanced security and fraud protection (46%), machine learning (36%), and Generative AI (25%) to meet their 2024 goals.

Retail Technologies to Watch

For those focusing on customer engagement, retailers say smart labels (53%), in-store kiosks (49%), online chatbots (46%), and mobile payments (44%) are other technologies worth the investment. In the logistics sector, retailers predict priority technologies like e-commerce platforms (44%) and omnichannel solutions (44%) will take the stage.

Retail Challenges to Overcome

While retailers plan to prioritize technology, several threats stand in the way of achieving their 2024 goals, executives say. About 31% of respondents rank in-store theft as a threat; however, the top threats tied at 33%: consumer data management and protection ranked alongside ever-changing customer preferences. Workforce shortages were narrowly situated between these challenges at 32%. For supply chain retailers, cost volatility (67%), omnichannel complexities (50%), and disruptions (48%) were cited as the most common issues to navigate.

Study results indicate retailers’ technology predictions stem from several obstacles hindering adoption. A mere 3% of retail executives identify as earlier adapters of new tech; and while common technological roadblocks like fast implementation and rapid innovation impede adoption efforts, 43% cited a “conservative culture” that is slow to adapt and 40% said limited in-house expertise stood in the way. On top of that: 33% of respondents admitted their organizations don’t have clearly defined outcomes for measuring success or ROI of new technologies, defeating the purpose of implementation and diminishing further adoption.

The survey was conducted by Wakefield Research and comprised of 100 U.S. retail executives responsible for IT, product development, or customer experience at companies with minimum revenues of $1 billion.

Want more data? Dive into SoftServe’s white paper to view the complete survey and its findings by downloading the free report at this link.

About SoftServe

SoftServe is a premier IT consulting and digital services provider. We expand the horizon of new technologies to solve today's complex business challenges and achieve meaningful outcomes for our clients. Our boundless curiosity drives us to explore and reimagine the art of the possible. Clients confidently rely on SoftServe to architect and execute mature and innovative capabilities, such as digital engineering, data and analytics, cloud, and AI/ML.

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