The WFC Group Blog

What's In Store For Retail In 2014? - Executives Tell The Story

Posted by Neil Shah on Jan 28, 2014 9:20:00 AM

Retail trend

Everyone wants to know what the future has in store - especially the retail industry (pun absolutely intended).

At the WFC Group, we work hard to keep up on the latest news, trends and technology to help us make decisions and keep our clients informed. In the retail industry, that means keeping up with the plans, strategies and goals of the top retail executives. We came across a recent KPMG survey that went straight to the horses mouth by asking executives for their 2014 outlook. We wanted to share 3 key findings that will impact the industry.

Data is big and getting bigger

1 in 2 retail executives currently turn to the numbers to make the major strategic decisions in their businesses. This could be anywhere from what people are buying to what their current sales-per-employee ratio is. The more impactful statistic is that 88% of the executives polled are looking to get more data to make decisions in 2014. That means more investment in technology solutions that will help them access and manage all of this data to help make actionable decisions.

Technology is a top initiative

When asked what the top initiative will be for executives in 2014, the largest group (28%) said that investments into operation processes and related technologies will be their top priority. That means that despite the fact that the economy, sales, and consumer confidence continues to improve, retail executives are still looking for ways to cut costs through investments in technology. This is further emphasized by the fact that when asked about where their capital investments will be going, 40% said to information technology - second only to geographic expansion (60%).

The workforce will be growing slower

46% of executives said that they expect their workforce numbers to increase in 2014, compared with 54% in 2013. So although we will see continued growth in the retail labor force, it will likely be less than last year. Many attribute this to the focus on investing instead in cost-reducing technologies as well as uncertainty over political reforms such as The Affordable Care Act and The Minimum Wage.

Our big takeaway

The biggest finding in this study for us at The WFC Group was that only 1 in 4 companies implemented their operations processes technology effectively. 1 in 4! Whether that was because they went over time, over budget, or couldn't get their staff to buy-in. Working with some of the top companies in the implementation of their workforce management technologies, we know all of the issues that companies like these go through. So if you’re one of the many retail organizations that will be implementing new technologies in 2014, make sure you have the right knowledge and experience to help you avoid the issues, costs, and headaches that come with investing in new technologies.

Topics: Retail