Retailers Aren’t Ready for Emerging Mobile Technology

52% of retailers feel ill-prepared to use AI, chatbots and virtual reality to engage consumers.

August 19, 2019

ALEXANDRIA-Va.—A report by WBR Insights indicates that retailers aren’t prepared to support and adopt advanced mobile technologies in their businesses. Only 9% of 100 senior retail executives surveyed said their business is ready to support more advanced technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), chatbots and augmented/virtual reality (AR/VR).

Mobile Marketer reports that the biggest obstacles to adopting the mobile-based technologies cited were budget (64% of executives), a lack of internal resources (55%) and a lack of executive buy-in (42%). Meanwhile, consumers continue to expect convenient services available via mobile technology.

“Consumers want the ability to seamlessly browse for and buy products at their convenience, so it’s no surprise that mobile payments and on-demand services are at the top of retailers’ technology wish lists,“ said Andrew Greissman, Research Director for WBR Insights, in a press release. “As consumers continue to demand more information and flexibility from their mobile shopping experience, technologies like voice recognition and augmented reality will become must-haves for engagement.”

Despite lagging uptake of advanced technologies, retailers are signaling interest. The survey found that in the next two years, retailers plan to evaluate AR (27% of executives), voice recognition (25%) and progressive web apps (22%) for implementation. And executives believe that technology can help: They say that mobile payments (60%), AI and chatbots (48%) and on-demand same-day services (47%) have the most potential to improve mobile commerce.