Most Retailers Globally Indicate IoT Plans, Including RFID

Zebra Technologies' "Retail Vision Study" finds that in four years, the majority of the 1,700 companies surveyed expect to be using RFID and other technologies to boost inventory accuracy and enhance customer service.
By Claire Swedberg
Mar 07, 2017

Zebra Technologies' "Retail Vision Study," released this week, finds that the majority of retailers surveyed globally expect to embrace radio frequency identification and other Internet of Things (IoT) technologies, as well as use analytic data from those systems by 2021, as more shoppers move to online sales. Seventy percent of retailers surveyed say they are already providing item-level RFID technology to better manage inventory, or plan to do so by 2021.

The survey asked retailers around the world to forecast their use of technology by 2021. The majority indicated that they plan to use automation technology to better personalize service at their stores, and to enable omnichannel sales with inventory visibility.

Zebra Technologies' Ravi Kanniganti
The survey was conducted by Zebra's market research partners, Research Now and Qualtrics. It consisted of online interviews of 1,700 retail decision makers across the apparel, department store, specialty store, supermarket, electronics, home improvement and drug store sectors.

In 2016, Zebra spent approximately six months interviewing global retailers , with a focus on CEO and CTO decision makers, says Ravi Kanniganti, Zebra Technologies' retail vertical market strategy director. It is one of a series of surveys Zebra conducts annually to elicit feedback from customers, he explains, adding, "These are critical for us to craft our long-term strategies."

In this case, Kanniganti says, the results were encouraging for Zebra and other technology providers, since they identify how dedicated retailers are to using technology to meet consumers' changing demands. "We know the retail market is going through fundamental strategy changes," he states. The focus for technology providers, he adds, should now be on ensuring that technology matches retailers' real-world use cases.

The key findings, Kanniganti says, were that stores are prepared to use IoT technology and cloud-based data to personalize experiences for stores' shoppers, and that they expect technology to enable new delivery methods and to further improve inventory visibility.

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