It’s Cyber Monday: Retailers are gearing up for an onslaught of e-commerce traffic as customers shop for great online deals. Adobe expects Cyber Monday 2017 to become the largest online shopping day in history, generating $6.6 billion in sales, which would represent a 16.5 percent increase compared with last year.
Retailers need to invest in IT infrastructure to handle all of that desktop and mobile traffic to websites and likely in-store traffic throughout the holiday shopping season. Rising online commerce comes at a time when retailers are considering how the industry may change in the years ahead. Will computer vision and artificial intelligence lead to the elimination of cashiers? What role will facial recognition and augmented reality play in stores? Meanwhile, retailers must contend with here-and-now threats, such as point-of-sale malware.
That’s a lot to keep up with, and BizTech is here to help. For the first time, we’ve compiled a list of retail IT blogs that we think you should be reading on a regular basis, similar to our lists for the small business, financial services and nonprofit sectors. These blogs will give you a comprehensive view on the state of retail technology, including practical IT tips and insights into key industry trends. They should definitely be on your daily reading list, especially throughout the holiday shopping season.
If you think we’ve missed a blog, please don’t hesitate to comment. And if your blog is one of the 25 we’ve chosen, grab a badge to display to your readers! Here are our 2017 Must-Read Retail IT Blogs:
Capterra bills itself as the world’s leading digital marketplace for business software. As a result, the company’s blog places a heavy emphasis on software solutions for retailers, but it also focuses on industry trends, point-of-sale systems and how to evaluate payment processing providers.
As one of the world’s leading network technology companies, Cisco Systems knows what makes retail technology tick: the networks that capture, store and transmit critical data about customers and their purchases. The company’s retail and hospitality blog provides insights into how to use digital technology to transform the customer experience, protect store networks from ransomware, take advantage of the Internet of Things and more.
One of the B2B news websites of FierceMarkets, FierceRetail covers retail IT heavily and focuses on the latest trends and market research that retail IT pros need to stay abreast of. Its tech coverage focuses on emerging trends as well as moves that the biggest players in the industry are making with retail IT.
The venerable market research firm Forrester Research publishes a blog that offers insights into how technology is reshaping the retail industry. Produced by several Forrester analysts, the blog specializes in analyzing tech trends, including voice-assisted commerce, blending digital and physical experiences, and mobile self-checkout.
The IBM Retail Industry blog serves as a hub for discussing multiple facets of the latest retail trends, ideas, topics, findings, predictions and technologies. The blog offers opinions from prominent thought leaders — including IBM staff, the company’s business partners and other influencers — and discusses blockchain, artificial intelligence and mobile workforce transformation, among other topics.
This blog from point-of-sale vendor Ingenico focuses largely on mobile and digital payment technologies and how they impact retailers around the globe. The blog touches on mobile payment trends, what millennials think about emerging retail IT (like using facial recognition for payment) and other hot tech topics.
Insider Trends is a London-based consultancy for those who want to know what’s coming next in the world of retail and how they can get ahead of their competitors. The blog focuses on retail technology trends and how retailers can learn from exemplars in the field.
This blog by chipmaker Intel features analysis and interviews with company technologists who are making embedded solutions smarter through advanced performance, connectivity, security and manageability. Its retail posts cover innovative new technologies, including how facial detection and AI help personalize the customer experiences and how sensors can track inventory.
July Systems is a location-based mobile engagement company that helps businesses acquire and engage customers at their physical locations. The blog focuses heavily on the value of data analytics for retailers looking to help customers and improve the bottom line.
This blog from the software giant covers a wide range of technologies relevant to retailers, including cloud and data analytics, and offers a mix of practical advice and deep dives into key retail tech trends.
RetailCustomerExperience.com is a web portal devoted to helping retailers differentiate on experience rather than price. The site's blogs, written by industry executives and analysts, offer practical guides on analytics, omnichannel implementation and using tech to understand customer behavior.
Retail Dive, like other Industry Dive websites, strives to provide busy professionals with a bird's-eye view of the retail industry in quick news briefs. The site covers industry news and provides original analysis of retail technology, e-commerce, mobile retailing and payments.
This blog is run by Bob Phibbs, an acclaimed motivational speaker, writer and CEO of the Retail Doctor, a New York-based retail consultancy. Phibbs brings his extensive industry knowledge to bear to help retailers understand how to successfully navigate a rapidly changing landscape that is being transformed by technology.
Recognized as one of the most trusted resources for independent retailers, Retail Minded focuses on the life and work of being a small business retailer. It has been a go-to blog for retail advice since it was started in 2007 by Nicole Leinbach Reyhle. Although the blog covers broad industry trends and news for independent retailers, it also looks at how small retailers can take advantage of emerging technologies.
A provider of in-store data analytics services, Retail Next uses best-in-class video analytics, Wi-Fi detection of mobile devices (including Bluetooth), data from point-of-sale systems and other sources to inform retailers about how customers engage with their stores. The company's blog offers practical tech advice for retailers, with tips like how to check if a store’s mobile website is fast enough and how to use web design to optimize the customer experience.
Retail TouchPoints is an online publishing network for retail executives, offering content focused on optimizing the customer experience across all channels. The site’s blog offers posts that cover a variety of pertinent tech topics, including how to take advantage of mobile location data, how voice shopping is changing Black Friday, how beacon technology can help retailers understand customer behavior and more.
RetailWire is a unique online retail news source that has been delivering insights for 15 years. Each business morning, the site’s editors post timely topics worthy of commentary by the RetailWire “BrainTrust” panel of industry experts and general readership (the site claims that more than two-thirds of its readers are in top executive or senior management positions). The resulting discussions often touch on hot tech topics such as AI’s role in fueling the retail supply chain and whether chatbots encourage more purchases.
The Retail Industry Leaders Association is one of the leading trade associations for the retail industry. Among other topics, the organization’s blog covers innovation, cybersecurity and how technology is changing the supply chain.
Retail Information Systems provides point-of-sale and inventory control software solutions, and its RIS News website is a go-to destination for news and industry reports. The Retail Insight blog provides analysis of industry trends, covering everything from omnichannel order fulfillment to how hypercompetition and new technologies are fueling a golden age for grocery stores.
This blog by the titan of customer retail management focuses on how retailers can use data to reach and market to customers and personalize the digital retail experience. The blog offers tips on how to use data management technology and how to personalize the digital retail experience, as well as research the company has conducted on the industry.
Although this blog revolves heavily around technology solutions that electronics powerhouse Samsung sells — such as digital signage and tablets that can be used at the point of sale — it also offers insights on a variety of tech topics, including how wearables and the Internet of Things are reshaping diverse retail environments.
Steve Dennis is a strategic adviser and thought leader on retail innovation, marketing and growth strategy. He has served as the chief strategy officer and led the development of omnichannel and multichannel integration efforts as an executive committee member of two Fortune 500 retailers, Neiman Marcus and Sears. Although his blog is about retail industry trends in general, he does touch quite a bit on technology, including the shift to digital-first retail.
Widely recognized in the retail industry, Tony D’Onofrio is a creative marketing and product management strategist and senior executive with more than 20 years years of professional sales and management experience growing global businesses. His blog brings a global perspective to the discussion of retail tech trends.
Total Retail is a top-notch source for management executives who want the latest news and analysis on cross-channel marketing, e-commerce and operations in the retail industry. The site looks at how technology impacts the omnichannel experience and also covers ongoing tech trends, including chatbots, IoT, virtual reality and more.
As a leading provider of barcode scanners, radio frequency identification systems, interactive kiosks and more, Zebra Technologies knows a thing or two about retail IT. The retail section of the company’s Visible Value Blog focuses on practical concerns, such as upkeep of scanning equipment, as well as larger tech trends, such as the Internet of Things and cybersecurity.