Retailers in Australia may find it wise to embrace the adoption of new technologies over time in order to compete in the “smart era”, according to a new study from IBM.

Findings from the study, based on research from the National Institute of Economic and Industry Research, showed that in the future there will be a widening gap between companies that adapt to new technologies, and those who do not.

This new technology includes mobile devices, high speed internet, social media, intelligent systems, cloud computing and more.

Using estimated scenarios IBM found that the gap for those in retailing in Australia will be a $76.5 billion divide – showing just how important it is for companies to take advantage of ever-adapting technologies.

“Where some people see digital technologies disrupting business, we see unparalleled opportunity for the nation’s future productivity and prosperity, even in a more competitive global market,” said Andrew Stevens, managing director for IBM Australia and New Zealand.

“However, this is not just about adding an online store to existing capabilities; this is about transforming your business model to compete in the digital economy.”

The study recommended that retailers should move to hybrid business models, which include a combination of both online retailing and bricks and mortar. This may mean in a review of retail strategy to ensure that business is able to keep up with the changing needs and demands from consumers, and competition in the market.

The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) has welcomed this research, and encouraged companies across the country to “prepare for the digital age”.

“The ARA encourages Australian retailers to learn about and take advantage of online technologies, or the era of ‘smart’ as referred to by IBM,” said Russell Zimmerman, executive director of the ARA.

“It is becoming increasingly evident that success will be driven by how effectively retailers can harness the power of new technologies to deliver unique value to customers with the speed, efficiency and ubiquity they demand.”