One good take away from the last year, is the recognition for the great job done by the retail sector on its ability to adapt. Retail establishments were fast to adopt new approaches such as secure in-store lockers that allow shoppers to order online and pick up in the store with no human contact. Expanding self-checkout, online ordering, and curbside pickup options, health technologies like automated temperature checkers, traffic counters and sanitizing stations are also being implemented to maintain health and safety.
Leaders in the retail industry are considering all options when thinking about adapting to the new needs of in-store shoppers, including:
- Evaluating how their customers shop, how stores can be adapted to limit human interaction while still offering a quality experience.
- Adding monitors, order kiosks, mobile computing tools can help speed up customer assistance and provide helpful information, orders, returns, inventory lookup and more.
- Being careful not to replace human customer support with technology, and instead using the right smart technology to enhance the customer’s experience.
Retail, especially grocery, has been forced to evolve at mind blowing speed, and most did a great job listening to the needs of their customers and adapting, leading to what industry researchers believe is the next massive transformation.
The Covid Pandemic pushed many retailers to make the shift to digital payments, and make rewards and delivery more quickly than they had initially planned to. Retailers that lead with technology combined with quality customer care, have emerged stronger, shaping the way people shop moving forward.
An October 2020 McKinsey report revealed an accelerated timeline as retailers needed to shift their strategies more quickly. Sixty seven percent of retailers assessed in the report disclosed investing more in advanced automation elements, in attempts to stay ahead of the competition.
Scan and Go technology and cashier-less shopping are two critical components of this future business model. Before the pandemic, nearly 98 percent of U.S. grocery sales happened in-store, according to McKinsey & Company.
Now we’re seeing grocery chains benefiting heavily from implementing technology that elevates the shopping experience as customers once again return to stores. An example of this is machine learning software that detects a shopper’s movement, including what they pick up and put back on shelves. Collecting this data can help retailers understand their shoppers better, impacting everything from the store format and product displays to pricing.
Retailers have learned how complicated shopping can be for consumers over the past year and now understand how simplifying a shopper’s experience will pay off in the long term.
As retailers look to the future, technology adoption will become table stakes to remain competitive. Leveraging emerging tools and technology such as virtual servicing can sustain profitable margins by making ongoing needs across inventory management and product fulfillment more efficient and effective.
RemoteRelief is a certified Zebra Partner, VMware Partner, & Unwired RemoteLink Partner, specializing in deployment, remote management, and secure operational data movement of endpoints for retail, and other product and service environments.
Zebra has become the industry leader for front line devices and contact-less solutions, empowering those on the front line of retail, healthcare, transportation/logistics, manufacturing and many other industries to achieve that performance edge, that in term translates to delighted customers, fantastic client outcomes and superior business results.
Zebra’s digital solutions help businesses create smart, data-powered environments that reflect real time data better than traditional systems of record, empowering these businesses to maximize the value of their workforce and optimize business processes.
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