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Most Retail Digital Strategies Not Yet Harvesting Results

by Robert Hetu  |  October 19, 2017  |  Submit a Comment

The retail CIO agenda for 2018 reflects the existential threat to many retailers, caused by digitally enabled consumers, new entrants and new business models in the market. Gartner’s annual¬†CIO Survey gathered data from 3,160 CIO respondents in 98 countries and across major industries, representing $13.0 trillion in revenue and public-sector budgets and $277 billion in IT spending. This report focuses on the answers from 169 retail CIO respondents and compares them with the total sample.

The good news is that the 4% of retail CIOs who responded affirmatively to harvesting results from retail digital strategies is double the 2% from the last survey, and retail is moving faster than other industries. The bad news is that it’s only 4%.


The percentage of retailers who are scaling and delivering is largely unchanged, which leads to the question of whether the scaling is taking longer than expected or it is not delivering the desired results. Assuming that the digital transformation is based on a solid understanding of customer expectations and not just viewed as an e-commerce initiative, with appropriate digital business scenarios, the speed of maturity must increase. Retail’s existential threat is not going to wane.

What to do?

  • Discuss your company’s digital maturity with senior leaders from the business and IT to ensure proper focus and alignment of business and technology strategies.
  • Assess the commitment level of your CEO and board members to the digital business transformation strategy.
  • Increase the variety of techniques you use to persuade and sell your ideas.
  • Initiate a periodic review process to formalize harvesting efforts and ensure early course correction when initiatives miss targets.

Gartner clients can read the entire research 2018 CIO Agenda: Retail Industry Insights

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Category: retail-trends  

Tags: digital-business  unified-retail-commerce  

Robert Hetu
VP, Analyst Retail
7 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

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