The recent 2023 Connected Retail Experience Study out of the U.S., conducted by Incisiv in collaboration with Verizon Business, shows that retailers are prioritizing investments in technologies that improve operational efficiency to reduce costs and increase profitability.
Real-time inventory management has risen to the top of the investment agenda in the face of uncertain supply chain issues that retailers have faced for the last few years. The deployment of artificial intelligence (AI) for improving operations will also increase, with a higher percentage of specialty and department stores adopting it than grocery and general merchandise stores. According to the new study:
- The use of AI to improve operations is projected to increase 9x by 2025.
- Mobile point of sale (POS) and curbside pickup sensors will significantly increase deployment across all retailers, particularly among specialty and department stores.
- While the deployment of robotics for associate tasks is still relatively low, it will increase over the next few years, particularly among grocery and general merchandise retailers.
The study also shows that retailers anticipate a significant increase in automation and expect up to 70 per cent of routine tasks will be partially or fully automated by 2025. They expect to leverage the labour and productivity benefits by re-deploying associates to customer-facing high-value tasks (18 per cent of retailers) and support business operations (26 per cent of retailers).
"Improving operational efficiency is crucial for retailers in today's competitive landscape," said Gaurav Pant, chief insights officer at Incisiv. "Automation is imminent, and retailers must embrace it to streamline processes and reduce costs."
The increased deployment of new store technologies, adoption of cloud applications, increased customer devices, and increased in-store associate devices will test the store network’s ability to handle additional traffic, particularly when it comes from devices that require low latency and process bandwidth-heavy files.
“As the number of mobile and connected devices continues to accelerate in stores, the need for faster speeds, less network downtime and a better ability to manage peak traffic will become more critical,” said Scott Lawrence, senior vice president global solutions, Verizon Business. “The key is to build a network architecture that will give in-store applications access to the right bandwidth at the right time, and enable them to scale up or down as needed.”