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Why It's Technology Deployment Season All Year Long

Reynaldo Rodriguez
10 October, 2023
by Reynaldo Rodriguez

Tech installing cameraNormally around this time of year, my team can kick up their feet and relax a bit. With the holidays in sight, historically you could bet on retailers shutting down technology projects and vendor collaborations as they prepared for the frenzied holiday shopping season.

But since 2020, fourth quarters have been business as usual, with little slow-down in the number of technology deployments taking place from October through the end of the year. It all started in 2020, when our deployments surged in Q4. At the time, we considered it an anomaly, thinking retail technology deployments had simply been delayed due to the world being shut down for much of the first half of the year. But a strange thing has happened: fourth quarters have continued to exhibit unusually high activity. Here are some factors that we think may be contributing to this trend.

Retail transformation is critical

Emerging technologies are no longer just for the leaders in retail. The digital transformation in retail is about maintaining a viable, profitable operation and retailers can no longer afford to delay. In many ways, technologies are allowing retailers to overcome a host of unprecedented challenges, from supply chain disruptions to increased theft and loss, new sustainability requirements and historic labor shortages. As a result, time is of the essence.

Shopping is different. Forever.

So much has changed about shopping. Retail shopping would be unrecognizable to someone who saw a retail operation 10 years ago. Ecommerce, BOPIS and curbside demand a new kind of retailer that offers true omnichannel options. Whether deploying frictionless checkout, enabling curbside pickup or enhancing the ecommerce experience, retailers are investing in technologies to deliver a more streamlined, omnichannel shopping experience. According to RIS News’ 2023 Annual Retail Technology Study, 29% of retailers plan to implement checkout and payment on the customer’s device. Another 50% have some work to do to update their curbside delivery capabilities. To remain competitive and generate sales ASAP, retailers are prioritizing technology deployments that allow them to deliver the optimal customer experience.

Budgets are for spending

The fiscal year for the retail industry runs from February 1st through January 31st. Retailers are definitely planning ahead when it comes to their technology budgets. Often on a “use it or lose it” policy, many retailers are scrambling to spend their budget for the current year, forcing deployments to completion at the end of Q4. They are also reaching out for estimates at the end of the year to prepare for the upcoming fiscal year.

We’re also seeing a surge in pilot deployments designed to assess a technology’s performance and ROI. It’s a highly effective way to ensure a more streamlined large-scale deployment, but it does require additional time.

As we kick off Q4 of 2023, our team is positioned and ready to help you accelerate technology adoption before, during and after the holiday shopping season. Please reach out to me on LinkedIn to talk about how we can help you streamline the technology deployment process. Or, to explore more critical trends that could help you prioritize technology investments, download our study, 5 Trends Driving Lightspeed Retail Transformation.

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