Less than half of retailers believe they can effectively manage digital operations over the next 12 months

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The pace and complexity of operations in digital retail is rising rapidly and most brands feel inadequately prepared to meet these challenges, according to a new survey by insights firm Incisiv.

The research reveals that retailers expect major increases in operational requirements around fulfilment and digital related functions in 2023. However, fewer than half believe they can effectively manage all aspects of their digital operations over the next twelve months.

In addition, 81% of retailers expect their product returns to increase, 69% will increase their online SKUs and 67% will increase the number of digital assets they utilise. A further 65% expect the number of store fulfilled digital orders to increase.

However, many feel unprepared to effectively manage these concerns, with less than half stating they are confident in their plans.

During the pandemic, many retailers were forced to invest in commerce and fulfilment capabilities to stay afloat. As a result, content and campaign management was given far less attention and now retailers “must catch up.”

Moreover, 39% believe their current store fulfilment platform will not meet their needs, 40% are not confident in their personalisation platform, while 42% and 43% are concerned about their product catalogue and content management systems, respectively.


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“As digital demand regresses to the mean, and with increasing macroeconomic uncertainty, the fight for the shopper dollar will intensify over the next 12 months,” Incisiv chief insights officer Gaurav Pant said.

“Delivering on the fundamentals of inventory availability and anywhere fulfilment is critical and there is still a lot of work to be done in this area. Building a personalised and relevant shopper experience is where the leaders are focused.

“To adapt accordingly, retailers need to focus on the capabilities that impact them the most and must upgrade omnichannel capabilities, specifically in areas of digital fulfilment, content management, and personalisation.”

Commercetools vice president product & customer marketing Michael Scholz added: “There’s more to running a successful business than just ensuring you’re two steps ahead of having the products consumers want and need.”

“They need the flexibility and scalability to provide the experiences customers want today, and tomorrow.

“Retailers need an agile and flexible commerce portfolio and an ecosystem of best-of-breed technology, such as MACH (Microservices, API-First, Cloud-Native and Headless) solutions.

“These enable businesses to unlock infinite opportunities, effectively tackle these new challenges and future-proof their business against changing market forces.”

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