Zebra’s 2017 Retail Vision Study shows how shopper expectations and technology advancements have evolved causing a shift in retail operations in the global retail industry. Retailers cited the technology trends that will shape the future. 70% of retailer respondents are planning to invest in internet of things by the year 2021. 68% are planning to invest in machine learning/cognitive computing and 57% plan on investing in automation by 2021. Some of the top drivers for technology investments include enhancing the customer experience, generating revenue, reducing operating costs, keeping pace with competition, and improving inventory management. 72% of retailers are planning to reinvent their supply chain to have real-time visibility. They plan to do this by enabling automation, sensors and analytics.

Retailers plan to empower workers by investing in new technology by 2021. Devices such as mobile-point-of-sale, handheld mobile computers with scanners, tablets, and kiosks or stationary information terminals. Other technology retailers plan to invest in by 2021 include security sensors, sensors for tracking status of inventory for sale, IoT device and network monitoring, sensors for tracking customer footpath, beacons for location based marketing, and automation & smart sensing for inventory management and planogram compliance. 75% of retailers plan to implement location-based services by 2021. Superior Omnichannel support requires 90% inventory accuracy or greater.

Retailers plan to personalize stores using IoT locationing technology by 2021. These personalization’s include knowing when specific customers are in the store, knowing where specific customers are in store, real-time alerts deploying employees to location in store to assist shoppers, customizing store visits, alerts when loyal customer walks in the door, and alerts when customer is in parking lot to pick up online order. Retailers plan to automate inventory visibility using alert of stock outs, product locators, automated inventory verification, video monitoring of inventory, item-level RFID, and sensors on shelves.

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