Zebra Technologies has released its 2017 Retail Vision Study, looking at IoT investment in the world of retail.
Seven out of ten retail decision-makers are planning IoT investments by 2021, according to new research from Zebra Technologies. With the popularity of online shopping growing year on year, the implementation of IoT solutions could break new ground in convenience as retailers fight to drive customer loyalty and gain competitive advantage.
These IoT investments, according to the study, aim to connect people, processes and things to keep customers happy, enhance supply chain visibility and expand revenue opportunities.
Almost as many (68 percent) plan to invest in machine learning and cognitive computing within the same timeframe, with 57 percent planning a shift towards automation for shipping orders, inventory tracking and assisting customers in locating items.
A cure for customer dissatisfaction?
According to the survey, among the biggest annoyances for today’s shoppers are pricing inconsistencies between stores belonging to the same chain and problems in locating specific items. Seventy-two percent of retailers have plans to address these issues through significant changes to their supply chains, including the introduction of real-time visibility, automation, sensors and analytics technologies.
Although many of the in-store problems faced by customers can be avoided with the help of IoT technology, retailers are also looking at innovative delivery services to keep shoppers on-side from the comfort of their own homes. By 2021, 65 percent of retailers plan to have modernized delivery services in place, including package drops to workplaces, homes and even parked cars.
Jeff Schmitz, chief marketing officer at Zebra, claims the study shows how retailers will deploy the next generation of technology to keep customers coming back for more. “Every inch of the retail industry is changing, from the aisles of the warehouse to the shelves of the store, and retailers are driving this change in a race to better serve customers,” he said.
“The 2017 Retail Vision Study demonstrates that retailers are poised to meet and exceed customer expectations with new levels of personalization, speed and convenience.”
A push toward personalization
In particular, retailers around the world are turning to IoT technologies in an effort to personalize the shopping experience. According to the survey, 75 percent of stores will use location-based technology to know where customers are, whether that’s so they can deploy staff to a specific location in-store (75%) or receive notifications when a customer arrives in the car park to collect an online order (71%).
In Latin America, 85 percent of retailers plan to use technology to personalize and enhance the in-store experience. The same trend is apparent in Europe, where 36 percent of retailers already know when specific customers are in-store, but expect that number to more than double by 2021.
In the Asia-Pacific region, 79 percent of retailers hope to support ‘buy online, pick-up at a third-party location’ processes in the next four years.