In the highly competitive world of commerce, retailers and brands must invest in tech initiatives that will differentiate them, drive revenue growth, and keep their customers satisfied. For our annual “The Top Retail Technology Investments In 2020” research, we interviewed over 60 retail and brand professionals to understand which technology initiatives they are prioritizing in 2020. This year’s research included an evaluation of 30 technologies segmented into three categories: “hot,” “on the radar,” and “hype.” Here’s a summary:

Hot (Top Investment Priorities For 2020)

    1. Advanced analytics/data analysis tools
    2. Omnichannel capabilities
    3. Personalization technologies
    4. AI/machine learning solutions
    5. Loyalty programs
    6. Digital wallets/mobile payments
    7. Digital store tech: customer-facing
    8. Digital store tech: associate-facing
    9. Digital store tech: operations
    10. Automated checkout tech/frictionless payments

On The Radar (Some Investments But Mostly Pilot Or Niche For 2020)

    1. Experiential retail
    2. Chatbots
    3. Social commerce
    4. Same-day delivery
    5. Subscription services
    6. Progressive web apps (PWAs)
    7. Pop-up stores
    8. Computer vision/visual search
    9. 5G wireless connectivity
    10. Marketplaces (retailers starting their own)

Hype (Lowest Investment Priorities For 2020)

    1. Pick-up/return lockers
    2. RFID
    3. Shoppable videos
    4. Augmented reality
    5. Smart speaker apps
    6. IoT solutions
    7. Blockchain
    8. Virtual reality
    9. In-store/home delivery robots
    10. 3D printed products

Be sure to check out the full report for the complete evaluation, which includes insights from 66 global retail and brand professionals, as well as Forrester Analytics’ Consumer Technographics® and Business Technographics® survey data. And for more information, including a detailed analysis of the results and real-world examples, listen to our webinar from late April.

Note To The Reader: COVID-19 Impact On Results Of This Report

This year’s interviews took place in January and February 2020, before the COVID-19 pandemic took hold on a global scale. While it’s too soon to tell precisely how events will unfold, we expect retailers and brands to make financial allocation adjustments for the back half of this year. We also expect that retailers and brands will ultimately make most of the investments they prioritized during their interviews; however, they will more likely occur in 2021 (barring a wide-scale COVID-19 resurgence at that time).