UK retailers plan to spend almost a quarter of IT budgets on implementing and improving e-commerce and mobile commerce platforms, reports ComputerWeekly.

The latest annual IT in Retail report by Martec International, sponsored by BT Expedite, shows the UK’s top 100 retailers’ IT investment in e-commerce and m-commerce has grown from 17% last year to 23% in 2011.

Brian Hume, MD at Martec International, says spending on new commerce platforms has overtaken spending on in-store systems, which has dominated retail investment for the past nine years.

“Many retailers are struggling to keep pace with the rapidly changing requirements of multi-channel operations with legacy systems slowing them down.  Replacing these systems is vital for gaining competitive advantage,” Hume said.

According to TMCnet, e-commerce represents the only growth in sales for many and so it makes sense to invest in expanding their Web sites, adding m-commerce and improving multi-channel business. In fact, 16% of the retailers already use m-commerce, a significant increase from 5% last year, with a further 12% planning to take it up.

For some of the leading 100 retailers, the investment is in setting up a transactional Web site for the first time – 24% of the top 100 do not have one, although 5% are planning to set one up.

For others, e-commerce is an investment priority to improve the customer experience, add more products, ranges or brands, internationalise their Web site and improve multi-channel integration.

Investment in new or replacement head office systems is also up, with 25% of retailers planning to replace merchandise management systems, an increase of 8% over last year, 15% intend to replace their merchandise planning systems and 6% are implementing one for the first time.

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