Jitterbit Survey Uncovers Top Challenges and Priorities for SMB Retailers
Report reveals greater need for connectivity and transparency across SMB retail operations and other key insights around customer experience, integration and automation in retail
Jitterbit, the API transformation company, announced the results of its new survey, “Navigating the New Normal: Challenges and Priorities for SMB Retailers.” For small and midsize businesses (SMB) in retail, remaining competitive means adapting quickly and flexibly to conditions that are continually shifting. But over the past two years, the COVID-19 pandemic has created disruption unlike any faced by these companies. To find out how these disruptions have impacted retailers, Jitterbit recently surveyed a sample of chief officers, directors, managers and vice presidents at SMB retail companies located throughout Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
Based on responses from more than 200 companies with total annual revenues between $500,000 and $250 million and representing several segments including e-commerce, IT, marketing, and operations leaders, the survey showed:
- The customer is front and center: Among the many challenges survey respondents are facing, customer-related concerns appear to be the most pressing. Respondents were asked to rank their most pressing concerns. Customer-centric issues stood out in the “top three” concerns: 46% named keeping pace with shifting customer expectations, and 43% named maintaining customer loyalty.
- Supply chain and sales operations rank close behind: Respondents ranked other customer-related concerns that point to the need for connectivity and transparency across SMB retail operations. These concerns include establishing real-time supply chain and inventory visibility (35%), managing operations effectively across sales channels (33%), and creating an omnichannel sales experience (28%).
- An exceptional experience across channels is key: There’s an increasing need for SMB retailers to meet their customers where they are, whether it be online marketplaces, social media platforms, e-commerce websites, or retail locations. In addition to nearly one-quarter of survey respondents reporting they have an omnichannel strategy already in place, another 54% indicated they have a strategy in the works or plan to tackle this soon.
- In-store experiences reign again: While the pandemic has driven consumers online and accelerated digital transformation among retailers, it has also created a desire for shopping in brick-and-mortar retail locations. To keep pace with customer preferences, more than half of the survey respondents (56%) are revamping or have plans to revamp the in-store experience they provide.
- Integration and automation pave the way forward: Respondents are embracing application programming interface (API) and electronic data interchange (EDI) solutions for system integrations. More than half (51%) of the survey respondents indicated that their organizations are using or planning to use API or EDI systems. Further, integration is a key enabler of process automation, which allows retailers to operate far more quickly, efficiently, and cost-effectively. According to the survey, 56% are automating or have plans to automate manual processes. And when asked if hyperautomation is critical for retail success, nearly 70% agreed.
“The survey confirms that retailers must innovate to keep pace or they will be left behind,” said Vito Salvaggio, SVP of Product Management from Jitterbit. “The key to winning over customers is to provide a seamless experience across channels and optimize the in-person experience. While more retailers are already embracing some aspects of forward-looking technology, it will become increasingly important to work toward fully integrated, fully automated IT operations, to succeed in the new era. At Jitterbit, we are helping today’s leading retailers address many of the challenges noted in the survey by helping them quickly integrate their diverse systems and technologies for end-to-end process automation and better manage supply chain logistics, inventory and sales data.”
With nearly two decades of retail experience, Jitterbit works with retailers of all types, from SMB to major retailers. The company combines domain and industry expertise with its retail-specific solutions that connect e-commerce, ERP, Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), point of sale (POS) systems and others to help retailers automate and streamline their workflows and advance their digital transformation goals.