Online retailers on the hunt for new technology as two thirds plan to use robots

Alys Key
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New technologies are the future of sales growth according to directors (Source: Getty)

More than two in three company directors (69 per cent) plan to invest in robots for their ecommerce platforms in the next five years.

Top decision-makers at wholesale, retail and manufacturing companies are looking into new technology to increase sales, according to ecommerce consultancy Salmon.

As well as robots and machine learning, 61 per cent are currently investing in Internet of Things enablement, while 53 per cent plan to invest in voice control technology following the success of the Amazon Echo and Google Home devices.

Virtual and augmented reality is another target area, with 59 per cent saying they plan to take advantage of the technology in the next five years.

Patrick Munden, global head of marketing and retail at Salmon, said: "Exploring the latest technologies is no longer a nice-to-have but a must-have for any businesses expecting to drive sales and improve their customer experience."

But with almost half (47 per cent) of those surveyed saying they have previously invested in tech that has proved to be a waste of money, many business leaders are experiencing tech cold feet. Over a third (36 per cent) find it difficult to commit to new technology for fear they could be investing in the wrong area.

Another concern is being overwhelmed with information, as 92 per cent of organisations agree they need to be able to better analyse consumer data.

Another study released today shows a very different picture on the High Street, where 8 in 10 customers say they would spend more with retailers that have a better technology offering.

The research, from Fujitsu, found that 75 per cent of consumers say Amazon or eBay would become their go-to store if they had a physical presence.

Personalised offers, smart mirrors, and augmented reality displays would all improve experiences for consumers, 79 per cent of whom say they would spend more money after a better experience.

Rupal Karia, MD of retail and hospitality at Fujitsu UK and Ireland, said: "The message is clear: consumers are prepared to spend more with the retailers that deliver digital, and leave those that don’t."

Employees are also losing out, as 75 per cent of customers say they can use their smartphones to access more information than they can talking to staff.

Phil Pavitt, global CIO of Specsavers, said: "Since the rise of ecommerce, retailers have focused too much on digitally enabling their customers online rather than their employees in-store – and it’s time for that to change.”

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