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

The most surprising result, Kanniganti says, was that one of the primary causes of consumer dissatisfaction reported was the inability to find a particular product on the shelf. Instead of being dissatisfied at being unable to find a store employee, for instance, consumers reported that simply not being able to locate a product was a key source of frustration. These problems can be resolved with RFID or other IoT-based technologies.

"Most retailers are going through the same issues worldwide," Kanniganti says—namely, focusing on combined online and physical store sales models. In Europe, stores have the greatest interest in location-based technologies, such as Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacons, to recognize customers and their locations within a store. North America is moving more quickly toward online sales-enabled in-store pickup solutions, he reports, while Latin America is leading in the in-store experience space, such as offering mobile payments and smart mirrors in changing rooms.

According to Kanniganti, the study finds that consumer concerns regarding privacy are expected to be reduced when weighed against the convenience of personalized service throughout the next few years. The domination of millennials in the consumer market (a generation that was raised with social-media and smartphone technologies) will also reduce privacy concerns.

The retail sectors embracing the technology the most, according to the study, are fast-fashion apparel companies and supermarkets.

"We're very excited about these results," Kanniganti says, since Zebra's mobile computer, RFID and other smart-sensing technologies, as well as visibility solutions, are being demonstrated as relevant to the retail market. "That validates our strategy."

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