New Delhi: 86% of APAC retailers to up outlay in automation by 2022, according to the latest Zebra study.
86% of APAC retailers are looking to increase investment in intelligent automation by 2022, revealed findings of the 12th Annual APAC Shopper study.
This annual study analysed retailers’ technology plans for solving chronic shopping issues and findings showed that retailers are looking to harness technologies like intelligent automation, cloud computing and mobility to drive economic growth.
- 88% of APAC retailers agree maintaining real-time inventory visibility is a significant challenge, and 85% say their companies need better inventory management tools to ensure accuracy.
- APAC retailers also cite robot assistance (83%), smart check-out and real-time store IoT platforms (89%) as extremely important to their operations over the next five years.
- 81% of retailers plan to provide mobile ordering as a fulfilment option by 2021.
- 70% of retailers are integrating social media within their ecosystem for digital native shoppers to provide feedback.
As businesses reopen and rebuild from the COVID-19 pandemic, the resiliency of retailers and supply chains are being tested more now than ever before. One monumental shift relates to the concept of “Economy at Home,” which addresses the way consumers have completely changed their shopping habits.
The frequency and volume of online spending on food has increased across the region, with consumers expressing a preference for self-checkout rather than assistance from cashiers for safe distancing.
With rising customer expectations, retailers need to rethink the safety of the customer journey, whether it is in store or via delivery.
Click-and-collect, or buy online, pick-up in-store (BOPIS), are becoming preferred methods of shopping, with 55% of consumers requesting more retailers to offer mobile ordering options.
This is forcing businesses to rethink their fulfillment strategies given that only 36% of respondents agreed that their stores are equipped to fulfill web orders. The study expects this trend to continue, while retailers implement additional solutions that minimize in-store contact and improve customer convenience at the same time.
“COVID-19 has significantly altered the retail sector, forcing both essential and non-essential retailers to assess their omnichannel fulfillment capabilities and quickly adapt their operating models in a matter of days – some implementing changes within hours,” said Deep Agarwal, Regional Sales Director – India, Zebra Technologies.
“We’re seeing how retailers are transforming ‘dark stores’ to serve as temporary distribution facilities inside their establishments. Retailers should prioritize the expansion of click-and-collect service offerings and invest in technologies that increase shopping capacity and speed,” he added.
This reduces in-store traffic and aids in social distancing efforts, while providing retailers with inventory visibility across every corner of the shop floor, according to Agarwal.
Putting a mobile device into the hands of a retail associate simplifies tasks like inventory management, yet an estimated 64% of retail associates are not equipped to maximize the benefits of technology.
In response, retailers are moving away from dated green-screen technology to enterprise-class devices with intuitive, user-friendly interfaces with smartphone-like operating systems.
The pandemic has proven this true as click-and-collect orders have surged, creating the need for store associates to enable contactless transactions via curbside pickup with handheld mobile computers and tablets.
The mobile point of sale (mPOS) solutions’ adoption is expected to hit 98% by 2026, up from 76% today. The same trend is also observed for handheld mobile computers with scanners as retail associate device usage is expected to reach 96% by 2026, up from the current 75%.
Growing up with technology and automation, 89% of surveyed shoppers agree that self-checkout improves their shopping experience. Additionally, self-checkout has become even more relevant during this pandemic as both shoppers and retailers strive to minimize in-store contact to ensure safety.
Returns are another pain point for shoppers and poses a significant challenge for retailers. Up to 51% of retail executives report that they have started or are planning to start upgrading their returns management technologies in the next five years.
Meanwhile, 83% of retailers currently have or plan to implement automated inventory verification systems within the year to advance real-time inventory accuracy.
Zebra’s 12th Annual Shopper Study surveyed over 6,300 global respondents, including over 1,200 APAC region respondents. They include retail executives, store associates and shoppers. The study aimed to gauge the attitudes, opinions and expectations that are reshaping brick and mortar and online retail.
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