Zebra Technologies Corporation released the findings of its 15th Annual Global Shopper Study along with a suite of products for the Indian retails sector.
The study confirms that shoppers are returning to shop in stores in similar numbers seen prior to the pandemic. They have also embraced self-serve habits as they increasingly use “do-it-yourself” (DIY) technology in stores, allowing retail associates more time on the floor to help shoppers.
The survey was conducted between June and July 2022, collecting feedback from more than 4,000 retail decision-makers, retail associates, and shoppers around the world, including APAC respondents from India amongst other markets.
To support the operations of Indian retailers, Zebra has launched its new portfolio of solutions including the ET40/ET45 enterprise tablets, TC53/TC58 mobile computers, RFD40 UHF RFID sleds , PTT Express and ZQ120 plus mobile printers.
Gearing toward mobile-first retail experience
While nearly 75% of shoppers globally (68% in APAC) say inflation has caused them to delay purchases, they are still returning to stores. However, most shoppers (76% globally, 68% in APAC) want to get in and out as quickly as possible. And they are willing to help make that happen with their growing affinity for self-serve technology.
Globally, shopper interactions across self-serve solutions continue to rise with nearly half of shoppers citing they have used self-checkouts, and almost four-in-10 used cashless payment methods. A similar trend is observed in India and other APAC markets whereby self-checkouts are used by 47% of shoppers, while 46% of those surveyed opt for cashless payment methods.
Forty-three percent of shoppers globally (50% in APAC) surveyed prefer paying with a mobile device or smartphone. Over half (50% globally, 48% in APAC) prefer self-checkout, while preference for a traditional check-out register staffed by a store associate has similarly declined (55% globally, 51% in APAC).
A majority of retailers believe staffed checkouts are becoming less necessary with automation technology. Around the world, nearly half are readying their stores, converting traditional check-out spaces to self-serve and contactless options. These sentiments are echoed in India along with other APAC markets as well – 79% of retailers view staffed checkouts as less necessary, while 53% have converted store space to self-serve areas and 52% are offering contactless options.
Consumers also continue to rely on their smartphones during shopping trips; this year’s usage indicates price sensitivity as over half of those surveyed are checking for sales, specials, or coupons (51% globally, 48% in APAC), aligning with a good majority of shoppers (68% globally, 67% in APAC) concerned about having to reduce spending to make ends meet.
Overall, shoppers are ready for technological advancements, with about eight-in-10 expecting retailers to have the latest technology.
Shoppers demand an “Everything Experience”
Consumers expect a seamless experience however they shop. Seven-in-10 prefer shopping both in-store and online as well as favor online retailers that also offer brick-and-mortar locations. Convenience is king for fulfillment: most shoppers (75% globally, 73% in APAC) prefer the option to have items delivered and opt for retailers who offer in-store or curbside pick-up (64% both globally and in APAC). The same is true for reverse logistics: about eight-in-10 shoppers (80% globally, 77% in APAC) prioritize their spending with retailers that offer easy returns. Nearly half of surveyed retailers (49% both globally and in APAC) are converting space in their stores for order pick-up, supporting consumer fulfillment preferences. Mobile ordering continues to increase, with around eight-in-10 shoppers and nine-in-10 millennials using it, and around seven-in-10 shoppers wanting more retailers to offer such services.
“Shoppers don’t necessarily evaluate retail channels. Rather, they view it as one shopping experience however they shop,” said George Pepes, APAC Vertical Solutions Lead for Retail and Healthcare, Zebra Technologies. “With e-commerce as today’s normal, channels have since converged and it is essential for retailers to ensure a seamless experience across their offline and online platforms. More importantly, they need to empower retail associates with the right technology to better perform their tasks, as the retail sector heads into the future of fulfilment.”
While 79% of global shoppers (76% in APAC) are concerned about inflationary price increases on everyday essentials, they are not necessarily leaving stores without the items they wanted due to price. Retail associates expressed out-of-stock complaints as their number one frustration (43% globally, 38% in APAC).
Globally, a whopping 76% of shoppers leave without the items they intended to purchase with 49% blaming it on out-of-stocks. In India amongst other APAC markets, the share of shoppers that do not complete their intended purchase order is lower overall (64%), with reasons including out-of-stock products (44%) or having found better deals elsewhere (27%).
Retailers are painfully aware of such reasons; 80% acknowledge the maintenance of real-time visibility for out-of-stocks as a significant challenge, needing better inventory management tools for accuracy and availability (79% globally, 84% in APAC).
Currently, nearly seven-in-10 shoppers are satisfied with help from retail associates, compared to only 37% in 2007. Generally, shoppers, retail associates and retail decision-makers agree shoppers have a better experience when retail associates use the latest technology to assist them. But that is not the only benefit, particularly in the face of labor shortages: most surveyed retail associates (78% globally, 74% in APAC) and retail decision-makers (84% globally, 82% in APAC) agree that stores leveraging retail technology and mobile devices attract and retain more retail associates as well.
To further improve the shopping experience, more than eight-in-10 retailers surveyed aim to enable more retail associates or seasonal staff to help customers pick and fulfill online orders for the 2022 holiday season. This also addresses another challenge cited by three-quarters of surveyed retailers: improving online fulfillment efficiency (78% globally, 73% in APAC) and expense (77% globally, 71% in APAC).
The ET40 /ET45 enterprise tablet provides the right replacement to consumer-grade tablets by enabling front-line workers to perform their duties better and faster right out of the box, in a durable device built to last – all at the right price.
The TC53/TC58 mobile computer redefines the mobile computing performance. With the latest wireless technologies including 5G, and Wi-Fi 6E, it gives workers faster and more real time access to information they need to get the job done. Critical for retail associates, retail managers, field service technicians, postal carriers/courier drivers, TC53 helps users to calculate accurate parcel dimensions and shipping charges, maximizing user productivity while minimizing IT complexities throughout the entire device lifecycle.
Applicable for sectors like hospitability, healthcare and retail, the RFD40 UHF RFID sled decreases cycle counting time with more tag reads per second. It can enable faster tracking of the inventory or even locating critical assets and patients with the ultra-accurate item-finder mode and a tri-function trigger.
The ZQ120 Plus mobile printer is designed to address the needs of industries such as retail, hospitality, transportation and logistics, government, and field services. Its lightweight and slim design together with the built-in toughness makes it ideal for retail associate who need to carry the printer with them all day as they perform their duties. Features like the IP54 rating, 1.5m drop test, wide operating temperature range all go into making it a popular choice for the retail business.
The PTT Express solution instantly enables Push-To-Talk communications between compatible devices over existing Wi-Fi network and is the most cost-effective way to give a small group of workers inside the four walls a basic voice connection. Workforce Connect unlock communication capabilities with powerful voice and messaging features to connect and empower front-line workers.
“After many years of analyzing shoppers, retail associates, and retailers, one thing remains constant – retail continues to evolve rapidly,” said Rajnish Gupta, Vice President and Head, India and sub-continent region, Zebra Technologies. “While integrating technology helps retailers keep up with customer expectations, reliance on retail associates is imperative to achieving long-term customer loyalty. It is important to empower the retail associates with the right technologies and processes to handle evolving omnichannel operations. With the Indian shoppers’ base being one of the largest in the world, it is key that retailers embrace intelligent automation and double down on support for their retail associates to delight consumers and deliver on-demand effectively.”