Majority of Canadian retailers prefer sticking to the tried and true when it comes to software purchases, according to a recent survey of the industry.

In a poll of 34-mid-to-large sized retailers, the Retail Council of Canada (RCA) also found that these businesses may be embracing social media technologies but are still wary of cloud computing.

Nestor Arellano

Here’s some data collected by the RCA which might be helpful to tech vendors and service providers who have set their sights on Canadian stores.

The top 5 software purchase priorities for this year are:

  • Store systems (point-of-sales systems)
  • Supply chain products
  • Multi-channel software
  • Merchandise systems
  • Loyalty solutions

 

Retailers’ lower priority purchase targets are:

 

The survey results appear to indicate that retailers tie IT purchases close to return of investment (ROI) and judge the merit of tech assets on their ability to support business strategies.

Hence the continued interest in POS products, merchandise and supply chain systems means that stores are more interested in boosting their sales clerks’ efficiency and gathering real-time inventory data.

Lower priority accorded to sustainable software development could indicate that retailers merely see agile and sustainable development as “nice to have”, but not critical.

Retailers see supply chain solutions vital in improving efficiencies in using resources, but supply chain products also appear in the low priority list because some of the respondents already have these deployed.

Software products supporting loyalty programs will be big in 2010 because loyalty programs remain the dominant theme in retailers’ strategy.

Nearly 60 per cent of the respondents said they have a customer loyalty program in place.

The top five retail strategies for 2010 are:

  • Customer loyalty (57 per cent)
  • Multi-channel message delivery (9 per cent)
  • Social media (9 per cent)
  • POS (5 per cent)
  • Mobility (5 per cent)

 

Multi-channel delivery, social media and mobility are relatively new areas in the sector. For instance, mobile commerce is only being employed by handful for retailer. The survey showed than only two-thirds or respondents were considering deployment of mobile technology.

Researchers however believe that as smartphone adoption continues to grow in Canada there is be a shift towards more deployment of such technologies in the sector.

By contrast nearly 100 per cent of retailers asked, have some sort of social media presence on sites such as Facebook or Twitter. Yet, only half of the retailers use social media to drive traffic to their Websites, read reviews about their businesses or for CRM purposes.

“Finding out how social media can be linked to ROI, remains a common complaint about social media,” according to Laurie Mah, marketing expert and independent contractor who conducted the survey for RCA.

Nestor Arellano is a senior writer for ITBusiness.ca.  Follow Nestor on Twitter,  read his blogs on ITBusiness.caBlogs or find him at ITBusiness.ca’s Facebook page

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