Shoppers Moving Away From Traditional Point-Of-Sales Practices

The retail sector is an important market for the promotional products industry. PPAI’s 2017 Sales Volume Study found that retail is the 12th largest buying segment accounting for 3.3 percent of the industry’s $23.3 billion in annual sales. The Zebra Technologies’ Global Shopper Study provides some strategic foresight on the evolving sector, however, as it reveals a move away from traditional point-of-sales practices and towards self-checkout and mobile technology in the retail space.

Zebra Technologies’ study collected the attitudes, opinions and expectations of more than 6,000 shoppers, retail associates and decision-makers in North America, Latin America, Asia-Pacific, Europe and the Middle East. It found that most surveyed retail decision makers—83 percent—and store associates—74 percent—concur that shoppers can have a better experience with technology-equipped sales associates.

Nearly 80 percent of retail decision-makers surveyed agree that staff checkout areas are becoming less necessary due to new technologies that can automate checkout, and 52 percent are converting point-of-sale (POS) space to self-checkout, and 62 percent are transforming it for online order pickup. While only 49 percent of store associates agree that staff checkout areas are becoming less necessary, 66 percent of them feel that if they were equipped with tablets, they could provide better customer service and improve the shopping experience.

Shoppers’ concerns over data privacy may be a stumbling block in this move towards a more digitized retail experience. Among shoppers polled in the survey, 13 percent completely trust retailers to protect their personal data—this drops to 11 percent in North America—the lowest level of trust among 10 different industries, including health care, financial institutions and technology companies.

More than one-half of shoppers—51 percent—believe they are better connected with their smartphones than store associates. To combat this, nearly 60 percent of retailers plan to increase their spending on handheld mobile computers by more than six percent, and 21 percent plan to spend more than 10 percent on rugged tablets over the next three years.

“Our study reveals shopper expectations are on the rise,” says Jeff Schmitz, senior vice president and chief marketing officer at Zebra Technologies. “While retailers are addressing fulfillment challenges, they also need to provide a more trusted, personalized shopping experience that gives customers what they want, when, where and how they want it.”


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