CDW Retail Innovators Report

The retail industry is undergoing a technology revolution. From managing and shipping inventory in real time to completely customizing the user experience – the possibilities are endless.

So, how are innovative retailers leveraging technology to gain a competitive advantage? CDW found that those who are prioritizing data analytics are using data to simultaneously improve the customer experience and their bottom line.

CDW’s Retail Innovators Report surveyed non-IT retail managers (line-of-business, or “LOB managers”) and focused on the 33 percent of respondents – the “Retail Innovators” – who are prioritizing data analytics.

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Key Findings

  • Retail Innovators Prioritize Analytics and IT:
    • 33% of LOB managers surveyed consider the ability to draw intelligence from data their organization’s top priority – these are the “Retail Innovators”
    • 54% of Retail Innovators can retrieve data within just two hours, compared to 32% of other LOB managers
    • 85% of Retail Innovators are highly collaborative with IT, compared to 62% of other LOB managers
  • Analytics Impact the Bottom Line:
    • 90% of Retail Innovators believe the seamless use of data analytics would increase sales – 62% say by more than 20%
    • Other top benefits include: Increased customer loyalty (56%), improved forecasting accuracy (48%) and improved customer acquisition (47%)
    • Retail Innovators say their most well-received technology is mobile applications (34%) while the most beneficial technology for their bottom line is Wi-Fi in stores (13%)
  • Retail Innovators Know Mobility Is the Key to Success:
    • Nearly all Retail Innovators (91%) are using mobile apps in some capacity, compared to just 79% of other LOB managers
    • Retail Innovators say the benefits of mobile apps include the ability to browse inventory (61%) and the opportunity to provide customer perks (53%)
  • Even Leaders Have Room to Grow:
    • 58% of Retail Innovators are able to interact with customers using historical data, but nearly two-thirds struggle to use prescriptive analytics
    • Retail Innovators say the biggest roadblocks to drawing operational insights from data are outdated information (44%) and too many silos (41%)



In March and April 2015, CDW surveyed 314 LOB managers regarding their organizations’ use of data analytics to improve the customer experience. The sample was split evenly between medium and large retail organizations. After reviewing the full data set, CDW decided to focus on the 102 respondents whose organizations consider the ability to draw intelligence from data as their top priority (Retail Innovators). The margin of error for the research is ±9.68% at a 95% confidence level for the Retail Innovators and ±5.50% at a 95% confidence level for the entire sample.