Half of industry backing IoT and digital commerce

Almost half of retailers (47 per cent) are investing in the Internet of Things (IoT) or plan to do so in the next five years, according to a new report by global commerce consultancy Salmon.

The study, which is called British Business in the Digital Age, looked at the current and future state of digital commerce in Britain across five key sectors – including the retail industry.

It showed that 49 per cent of organisations are aiming to invest in the IoT and wearables within the next five years.

Other key findings from the report included:
• Digital commerce currently drives 26 per cent of sales, with that figure set to rise to 40 per cent over the next five years;
• Nearly one-in-four retailers (23 per cent) believe m-commerce will drive 20 to 30 per cent revenue growth over the next five years;
• Of the retailers surveyed, 63 per cent use m-commerce, 43 per cent offer a Click and Collect and 43 per cent provide customers with in-store automated ordering.

However, despite UK businesses investing in digital commerce, with m-commerce (49 per cent) and desktop e-commerce (81 per cent) already key sales channels, only 19 per cent of total annual revenue currently comes from digital commerce.

When asked to pinpoint the challenges faced in maximising the potential of digital commerce, respondents claimed the biggest battle for developing ecommerce as a whole was the issue of integration with traditional sales channels, such as face-to-face and in-store.

Handling customer service (37 per cent) and managing the distribution of products when selling to customers (35 per cent) were also highlighted as challenges.

Said Neil Stewart, chief executive of Salmon (pictured): “Increased year-on-year spend, technologies providing the next cutting-edge development and improved customer engagement are all proof that UK business is certainly seizing this opportunity with both hands. But the e-commerce journey is not a smooth one for a number of organisations and this is hindering their potential across digital channels.”

He added: “British businesses are certainly exploiting digital sales channels, but the fact is that they can do more to realise their full potential.

“Rushing ahead with emerging digital technologies before mastering the basics is unlikely to reap the revenue returns we all hope for. Digital commerce has the potential to be as vital to UK plc – whether B2B or consumer-facing – as it is to the lives of the general public. Businesses need to think long and hard about the role digital commerce can play in their organisations and go on a journey to realising that potential, implementing strategies that suit the bespoke needs of their customers.”

The full study, British Business in the Digital Age, is available for download