IoT To Change The Face Of Retail By 2021: Study

by CXOtoday News Desk    Mar 28, 2017


The Internet of Things or IoT is slowly becoming integral to many businesses. Retail is one such sectors that is embracing this technology along will machine learning, cognitive computing and automation, states a study by Zebra. It analyzes the technology trends shaping the future of the global retail industry and enhancing the shopping experience.

The study states that by 2021, retailers will spend on Internet of Things (70%), machine learning/cognitive computing (68%) and automation (57%). Deploying these diverse technologies would provide a more responsive, real-time customer experience. This is what retailers aim to achieve in the next five years.

Relying on IoT would ensure more visibility in the supply chain. Machine learning has predictive strengths which is used to solve supply chain constraints challenges, improve inventory management and enhance personalisation of customer experience. Inventory tracking and managing has become easy with automation.

The study highlights that globally 70% of retail decision makers globally are ready to adopt the IoT to enhance customer experience. A lot of retailers are worried about security, IoT will address this area across all operations, in addition to supply chains.

By 2021, more than two-thirds of the retailers will be able to customize the store visit for customers, as they will know when a particular customer has stepped in the store. It is predicted that micro-locationing technologies will be used by retailers in the next four years.

The study further notes that the group of shoppers born between 1980 and 1995 is the first generation of digital natives who use technology as their second nature. They have high expectations for customer engagement through all online channels. 75% retailers may invest in predictive and software analytics for loss prevention and cost optimization.

In Asia Pacific (APAC), retailers expect sales to increasingly move from brick-and-mortar stores to online channels, which would lead to synergies between the physical and online platforms. The continued rise of online shopping will further build the momentum for an omni-channel retail format, challenging retailers to provide unprecedented levels of convenience to drive customer loyalty. 

“The retail industry is experiencing a convergence of the physical and online worlds – which we call ‘phygital’. Shoppers today are technology-savvy and have high expectations for a digital and connected shopping experience, creating both challenges and opportunities for retailers vying for sales on all platforms. As the omni-channel approach picks up steam, implementing the right visibility technologies from the warehouse to the storefront is instrumental in fulfilling orders, scheduling for fast deliveries, and personalizing the experience for different shoppers,” said Deep Agarwal, Regional Sales Director – India, Zebra Technologies APAC.

Here are some highlights of the APAC findings:

- By 2021, nearly 76 percent of retailers in APAC will be able to customize the store visit for customers as a majority of them will know when a specific customer is in the store. This will be enabled through technology such as micro-locationing, allowing retailers to capture more data, accuracy and customer insights.

- Retailers are looking to create a seamless shopper experience with 76 percent of APAC respondents reporting that it is important or business-critical to integrate e-commerce and in-store experiences. To speed up checkout lines, retailers are planning to invest in mobile devices, kiosks and tablets to increase payment options.

- In APAC, 86 percent of retailers will deploy mobile point-of-sales (MPOS) devices by 2021, enabling them to scan and accept credit or debit payments anywhere in the store. Seventy-two percent of retailers in APAC rate managing big data as important or business-critical to their operations. 

- Many of them anticipate investing in predictive analytics, software analytics for loss prevention and price optimization, and cameras and video analytics for operational purposes and the customer experience. The top sources of shopper dissatisfaction include inconsistent pricing between stores and the inability to find a desired item, whether it’s out of stock or misplaced within a store.  Nearly three-fourths of retailers in the region plan to fix these issues by reinventing their supply chains with real-time visibility enabled by automation, sensors and analytics.