SAN FRANCISCO–()–Riverbed, the leader in Unified Observability, announced the Retail industry results of the Riverbed Global Digital Employee Experience (DEX) Survey, unveiling that as the Retail sector faces increasing online global competition for customers and employees, providing a seamless digital experience is paramount to ensuring a retailer’s success. Respondents overwhelmingly (96%) agree that delivering a seamless DEX is essential (59% said critically important) to remain competitive as customers’ online shopping choices are rapidly increasing. In addition, the younger generation of digital native employees and customers have higher expectations on the technology that serves them.

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Retailers Want Frictionless Digital Experiences

The Riverbed DEX Survey found that an overwhelming number of Retail leaders (95%) believe they will need to provide a more advanced DEX as new generations of employees enter the labor market. This is especially important in the Retail sector, as Millennials and Gen Z employees make up a larger portion of the workforce versus other industries. A majority of respondents (61%) surveyed said there would be a disruptive/reputational impact on their company if the digital experience expectations of younger generations are not met. IT decision makers (ITDMs) and Business Decision Makers (BDMs) say that 73% of younger generation employees would consider leaving the company if they did not have a seamless digital experience – a statistic 5% higher than the global consensus. Retailers, who are struggling with persistent labor shortages, cannot afford to alienate employees, especially during the busy holiday season and when shoppers have more choices than ever.

LinkedIn: Riverbed survey finds Retail Leaders embracing technology to improve digital Experience for customers and employees amid IT complexity and globalization:

“Online shopping, which had been growing for many years, further exploded due to the pandemic when people flocked to websites instead of stores for their purchases,” said Jim Gargan, CMO, at Riverbed. “Providing seamless digital experiences to employees and customers became crucial as companies accelerated their digital transformations to meet the demands of a global buying population. As companies have shifted from fully remote work to a hybrid model, and consumers have also returned to physical stores, the pressure is on for IT leaders in the retail industry to create flawless digital journeys for their customers no matter how they shop. Unified observability solutions are becoming critical to retailers as they look to deliver exceptional digital experiences that help maximize the dollar value of customers’ visits, regardless of where they shop geographically and online.”

In a post-COVID-19 pandemic environment, even as shoppers return to brick-and-mortar stores, buyers still maintain their online shopping habits too. Research shows that in 2023, the omni-channel retail experience is in high demand, particularly with holiday shoppers using retailer websites, apps, and physical stores to make their holiday purchases. This omni-channel behavior has made IT more complex for retailers as they are expected to provide the same premier service across every touchpoint, including retail branches, online shops, applications, and in-store POS systems. To manage the complexity, IT leaders are turning to observability tools to prevent downtime or bottlenecks, as 98% of the Retail leaders surveyed agree unified observability is important (58% say critically important) to stay competitive and deliver seamless DEX. However, delivering a better digital employee experience is getting harder, with 91% of those surveyed in the Retail sector identifying at least one major obstacle hindering DEX.

Reducing IT Complexity and Delivering Seamless Digital Experiences

“Brick-and-mortar operations that once competed solely against the store across the street now have a significant online presence and compete globally,” adds Jim Gargan, CMO, at Riverbed. “Even shopping trends that were once regional, such as Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Singles Day, have become international, and companies need to be prepared for the increased traffic. A retail CIO’s ability to provide frictionless digital services and a great customer experience has become a significant driver and enabler of business growth in e-commerce.”

As larger multinational companies increase their online reach across the globe, they and their competitors are worried about technology challenges that lose sales. Slow networks and friction at checkout lead to abandoned carts, and 89% of the Retail respondents surveyed say that slow-running systems and applications and outdated technology are directly impacting the growth and performance of their organization. As a result, 90% of the IT and business leaders in Retail who participated in the survey are planning to accelerate digital experience adoption and implementation. Furthermore, the Retail respondents cited that the emerging and existing technologies that will become increasingly business-critical to them in the next 12-18 months include Artificial Intelligence (42%); Digital Experience Management (DEM) solutions (36%); Cloud (36%); Application and Network Acceleration technology (34%); and Automation (32%).

Part of the struggle for IT leaders at retail companies is the increase in the complexity of technology, including providing personalized consumer services across hybrid shopping journeys and moving to the metaverse for immersive shopping experiences. As CIOs roll out these advanced technologies, they’re being hamstrung by their own staffing concerns; 39% of those surveyed believe they are understaffed, and 38% have enough employees, but those employees lack key skills to do their jobs. To address this concern, 83% of Retail leaders from the survey audience have set aside a budget to retrain IT staff.

A supermajority (85%) of ITDMs and BDMs surveyed in Retail acknowledge the increasing relevance of IT within the C-Suite as CIOs battle sticky supply chain disruptions, incorporate AI and advanced algorithms into workflows, and adapt to cashless and no-contact transactions. With the greater reliance on technology in driving the business comes increased recognition; 84% of ITDMs and BDMs surveyed said a member of the IT team has a seat at the C-suite table.

The Riverbed Global Digital Employee Experience Survey 2023 polled 1,800 global IT decision makers (ITDMs) and business decision makers (BDMs) across 10 countries and seven industries, including 300 Retail leaders. The survey was conducted by Sapio Research in May 2023 to explore generational expectations, hybrid work, the evolving role of IT, and challenges and strategies to delivering an exceptional DEX.

Discover how IT and business decision makers are approaching the digital employee experience by diving into the full report:

About Riverbed

Riverbed is the only company with the collective richness of telemetry from network to app to end user, that illuminates and then accelerates every interaction, so organizations can deliver a seamless digital experience and drive enterprise performance. Riverbed offers two industry-leading portfolios: Alluvio by Riverbed, a differentiated Unified Observability portfolio that unifies data, insights, and actions across IT, so customers can deliver seamless, secure digital experiences; and Riverbed Acceleration, providing fast, agile, secure acceleration of any app, over any network, to users anywhere. Together with our thousands of partners, and market-leading customers globally – including 95% of the FORTUNE 100 – we empower every click, every digital experience. Riverbed. Empower the Experience. Learn more at

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