Technology will revolutionise the retail experience

Many businesses across different sectors are being transformed by technology and its advancements. This ranges from improving productivity through increased efficiency and personalising promotional offers based on the increased surge of data generated from a variety of sources.

A recent report from Zebra Technologies has shown that the retail industry is no different, and the shopper experience – both in-store and out – is set to be transformed by technology. Retail stores have recognised that this trend is crucial to remain competitive and, according to the report, 75% of firms are looking into technology that will analyse a customer’s in-store movements. For example, by offering a customer an offer if they are lingering in a certain area, or dispatching a store assistant to serve them.

This tech can also help retailers improve their merchandising decisions. Burberry recently showcased interactive microchips into some of their clothes, allowing a customer to look into a mirror that transforms into a screen and shows how the garment would look on a catwalk.

>See also: The rise, or fall of the retail app?

By 2021, 77% of firms will know when specific customers are in-store and will be able to customise their visit on arrival. Waitrose, for example, is trialling video shelf-edge technology in its drinks isle. This gives customers access to its wine team’s tasting notes and recommendations, including food and wine matching.

As point-of-sale technology advances, 25% of firms plan to give staff mobile point-of-sale devices by 2021. This will allow employees to take payments from anywhere in the store, reducing queues and increasing profits.

John Lewis, for example, is already investing $4 million on mobile technology in-store, enabling its staff to answer customer questions about products and availability on the spot

Real-time visibility will be a crucial ally to the retail industry and 77% of firms plan to use this in their supply chain, to greatly reduce the risk of items being out of stock, while 92% of firms will offer customers ‘buy online, collect in-store’ services.

>See also: Retail: the next big industry impacted by AI

This option of collection will extend to train stations and in-store lockers, according to 79% of respondents. This plethora of new services, backed up by new technology will be fundamental for retailers seeking to remain competitive. Indeed, 78% of firms believe that integrating e-commerce and in-store experience is “important” or “business critical”.

Mark Thomson, retail and hospitality director, EMEA, for Zebra Technologies said in response to this report that “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”.

“The 2017 Retail Vision Study demonstrates that retailers are poised to meet and exceed customer expectations with new levels of personalisation, speed and convenience. Zebra is committed to help retailers survive – and thrive – in this changing landscape by providing products and solutions that enable a successful omnichannel strategy with greater insights and visibility into store operations, associates, inventory and shipments.”


Nominations are now open for the Tech Leaders Awards 2017, the UK’s flagship celebration of the business, IT and digital leaders driving disruptive innovation and demonstrating value from the application of technology in businesses and organisations. Nominating is free and simply: just click here to enter. Good luck!

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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...

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