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Hype Cycle for Retail Technologies 2016

by Robert Hetu  |  July 12, 2016  |  2 Comments

The 2016 Retail Hype Cycle contains technologies that should be considered by large retailers having many channels and operating in all segments and geographies. CIOs and business leaders of these retailers are confronted with a wide variety of technology options that can provide increased operational efficiency, improved customer experiences and increased digital business effectiveness. As a result, prioritization of technology investment is critical, and the dynamics of combining technologies, for example, smart machines with algorithms and the Internet of Things (IoT), cannot be overlooked. Many retailers have engaged in store count and staffing reductions and real estate investment trusts (REITS) to improve bottom-line performance and fund new initiatives such as major technology investments to enhance digital readiness. Simultaneously, they are investing in new store prototypes, formats and remodels aimed at improving the customer’s physical experience. Yet there is a need to operate in a bimodal mode in the business, as well as in IT, to ensure that the basics of maintaining adequate in-stock levels are not sacrificed while pursuing innovation. Some of the major trends driving retail investment include:

  • Business:
    • Consumers’ expectations of retailers’ delivery of services and differentiated experiences that enhance their lifestyles
    • Channel migration, unification and reorganization of internal structures
    • Hypercompetitive market with low cost of entry for nontraditional players
    • Rising cost of employment, combined with a skills shortage
    • Need for more consistent best practices and automated processes in various business functions
  • Technology:
    • Smart machines, the IoT and 3D printing
    • Algorithms, analytics and big data
    • Convergence of social and mobile
    • Cloud computing
    • Augmented reality

These trends pervade the 31 technologies included in this year’s Hype Cycle. New technologies include algorithmic retailing, retail distributed order management, cognitive expert advisers and customer engagement hubs. Gartner clients can read the entire research by clicking this link: Hype Cycle for Retail Technologies 2016

Category: hype-cycles  retail-trends  

Tags: algorithms  analytics  competition  consumers  customer-analytics  customer-centricity  digital  ecommerce  multichannel  omni-channel  personalization  retail  revenue  trends  

Robert Hetu
Research Director
6 years at Gartner
29 years IT Industry

Bob Hetu is a Research Director with the Gartner Retail Industry Services team. His responsibilities involve tracking the technology markets and trends impacting the broad-based retail merchandising and planning areas. Mr. Hetu is an expert in the areas of brand, vendor and assortment management, merchandise planning, allocation, and replenishment. Read Full Bio


Thoughts on Hype Cycle for Retail Technologies 2016


  1. Ken silay says:

    Bob, we discuss future technologies at a recent conference. We have been talking about them for two to three years.
    The future keeps being the future and not a reality because retail doesn’t have a vision beyond the next quarter. Until someone takes the risk we’ll all get swallowed up by the trough of disillusionment.



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