More Mobile, More Tech, More IoT Coming To Retailers, Survey Finds


By Kelly Hill

The past 18 months have seen a surge in increased digitalization of the retail shopping experience, according to a new survey from Verizon and market research firm Incisiv.

The report said that there has been a “rapid acceleration in shoppers’ digital adoption and, consequently, a rapid digital transformation for retailers. We’ve seen the store experience become more contactless, shopper-associate engagement has become digital, and the store’s role has evolved to become a hub of omnichannel fulfillment.” Pandemic-driven retail shutdowns prompted a major shift toward digital commerce, and there are other, evolving pressures on retail operations. These include difficulty in employee retention, leading to the need to offer higher wages; 87 per cent of surveyed retailers said that they believe that retaining employees will become more difficult. Meanwhile, the integration of increased digital commerce means that store tasks are more complex, Incisiv’s report acknowledge — and the solution, it says, is technology and automation to deliver on higher expectations from shoppers.

Among the report highlights:

-Specialty and department store retailers reported being more satisfied with the digital experience they offer, while grocery and general merchandise stores reported more dissatisfaction with how they present digital services to consumers.

-93 per cent said that they think shoppers will increase their use of mobile devices in-store.

-83 per cent of surveyed retailers said that they think that the level of technology deployed in-store will increase. Grocery and general merchandise store retailers reported that belief at even higher levels (88%) than specialty and department store retailers (79%).

– 51 per cent of speciality/department store retailers and 44 per cent of grocery and general merchandise retailers said that they believed that there will be increased use of IoT or RFID devices by 2025.

– 57 per cent of specialty/department store retailers surveyed reported that they think there will be more use of augmented/virtual reality apps in-store by 2025, compared with 26 per cent of grocery and general merchandise retailers.

-More than half of all the surveyed retailers say that they will increase the number of mobile devices used by employees in-store.

The survey also found that retailers aren’t particularly happy with the performance of their existing networks. “Retailers are not satised with their network’s performance, and the future looks even more challenging as technology deployments increase,” the survey concluded. It went on to say that the top three areas were retailers see the most challenges with their networks are in managing peak traffic, in application response time and in network bandwidth availability.

“With the number of customer and associate mobile devices increasing and more in-store technology deployed, retailers’ lack of network support will be a challenge,” the report said.

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