Retailers and smart technology: the winning combination of in-store shopping

How are retailers around the globe coping with the customization, speed and convenience of e-commerce? By offering more speed, convenience and customization (we had already discussed this issue here), though mostly with more smart technology.

According to the “2017 Retail Vision Study” commissioned by Zebra Technologies, technology trends will shape large-scale distribution by 2021, completely transforming the physical shopping experience. The survey – involving about 1700 respondents from North and South America, Asia, Europe and the Middle East, representing a large spectrum of retail segments, from specialty stores to department stores, supermarkets and drugstore chains – gives the picture of a continuously evolving scenario.

65% of respondents are planning investments, by 2021, in automated processes for inventory verification, product display management in stores or stock controls, which would significantly help them meet their customers’ needs. In EMEA countries, for instance, the key sources of customer dissatisfaction today include out-of-stock merchandise, the same product available for less at another retail store or product unavailability: with automation systems and data analytics, some retailers are planning to reinvent the supply chain with real-time visibility.

How can they deal with economic competitiveness and the convenience of online shopping? With innovative services such as product delivery to the consumer’s workplace, home or parked car, which is being considered by 65% of retailers. Thanks to micro-locationing software that will make data on consumer habits even more accurate, retailers can further customize in-store experience.

Predictive statistics and software analytics will prevent losses or suggest price optimizations, while cameras and video analytics will improve overall customer experience, such as checkout queuing. 87% of retailers are planning to use mobile point of sale devices (MPOS) by 2021 so that customers will be able to pay anywhere in the store.

In other words, retailers around the globe are not at war with online shopping, rather they have secured a strategic truce to study their opponent’s moves. In fact, 78% of retailers believe that the future of in-store experience will have to be increasingly integrated with e-commerce.