Retail Execs Say IoT, Automation Will Transform Shopping Experiences

Nearly 70 percent of all retail executives are prepared to put changes in place to adopt the Internet of Things (IoT). This is according to a new survey carried out by Zebra Technologies involving nearly 1,700 retail decision-makers from North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, the Middle East, and Latin America.

The 2017 Retail Vision Study also revealed that 65 percent of retail execs intend to make investments in automation technology for inventory management and planogram compliance within the next four years.

Zebra’s North America Retail and Hospitality Lead, Tom Moore, was not surprised by these findings, pointing out that these topics were the subject of “overwhelming interest” at January’s National Retail Federation Big Show. He opined that this search for solutions is a natural consequence of the shift toward online shopping in the modern retail environment. In fact, 78 percent of the survey’s participants said that fully integrating e-commerce with their physical store was “business critical”.

Customization Taking Center Stage

Brands are also turning to smart technologies to bring shoppers more speed, convenience and personalization than ever before, and this might entail the use of virtual robots, cognitive computing, and machine learning. As many as 65 percent of retailers intend to work on providing innovative delivery services by 2021, including deliveries to workplaces and parked cars. Moreover, four-fifths of retailers are expected to know when a certain customer is inside their store and customize the experience for them using technology like micro-locationing.

Another technology that will drive the future in retail is mobile devices, which will be able to speed up checkout lines by provide customers with extra payment options, allowing them to check out from anywhere in the store using mobile point-of-sale devices. Meanwhile, 57 percent of execs envision automation shaping the industry in the years to come by helping retailers to pack and ship their orders, check inventory levels, and help customers find items.

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