The 2020 eTail Digital Playbook: Understanding the Tools that Help Retailers Succeed

By August 2019, the number of physical retail stores that closed globally was 29% higher than in all of 2018.1 As the customer journey transitions to digital environments, retailers are hard-pressed to adopt digital tools that support winning customer experiences and differentiate them from their competitors.

But in 2020, retailers face a new problem—the proliferation of enterprise digital tools and software. Gartner predicted that worldwide retail tech spending would grow by 3.6% in 2019, reaching over $203 billion, and tech developers are capitalizing on that growing market.2

For retailers, determining the right balance of digital technologies—the right ‘tech formula’ for long-term retail success—is an increasingly thorny issue. But as customer expectations and digital fluencies evolve, retailers need a constant education about what’s working and what’s not in terms of digital CX.

Retailers must listen to their customers to determine which tech those customers truly want and will actually use in the long term. They can also determine which legacy and backend systems they need to update, overturn, and replace. Only then can they employ digital tech as a means to differentiate their unique brand experiences.

Q1 2020 Study: Identifying Technologies that Align with Long-Term Customer Preferences

eTail’s 2020 Digital Playbook is your real-world guide for long-term digital success. Featuring an industry survey of 100 retail professionals, this report measures the adoption and success of new customer experience tools to identify which digital technologies are all hype and which are business critical.

Our findings include retailers’ reflections on their customers’ experiences using their latest digital investments. We identify what’s helping them retain customers and what’s turning them off. We measure the value of key technologies—AI, omnichannel tools, AR, VR, chat, and voice. Finally, we investigate how digital consultancies can help retailers innovate their customer experiences in smart ways, drive long-term customer value, and maximize ROI.


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