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Pandemic accelerates technology spending plans for 6-in-10 retailers: Survey

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Global Shopper Study by Zebra Technologies found shoppers expect a seamless experience between stores and online and are increasingly placing orders online because of desired product availability, resulting in a surge of e-commerce orders with nearly 60 placing placing an order in the last three months.

With more than one-fifth of shoppers returning an item purchased online, 57 percent of store associates are feeling significantly challenged by these returns. Out-of-stocks also remain a challenge and 41 percent of shoppers say this is the top reason for leaving stores without a purchase. This is followed by long checkout lines (32 percent) and an inability to find items (31 percent) both representing a marked increase from last year.

Growth in mobile ordering

Retail decision-makers and store associates have seen a dramatic increase in the need for convenience and efficiency as the pandemic has catapulted shoppers’ usage and affinity for mobile ordering and smart-checkout solutions. Mobile ordering – from smartphones and tablets – has experienced tremendous growth and been instrumental in helping maintain social distancing and adherence to local guidelines. 72 percent of shoppers used mobile ordering and 82 percent of those shoppers are highly likely to continue using it. Millennials (88 percent) and Gen X (79 percent) shoppers were the primary users of mobile ordering but nearly half of Boomers (47 percent) used it too, and 74 percent of them are likely to continue using it in the future. Sixty-four percent of shoppers believe more retailers need to offer mobile ordering while the vast majority of decision-makers (90 percent) and store associates (83 percent) agree mobile ordering would help meet customer expectations.

Smart-checkout leads to better experience

Approximately half (47 percent) of surveyed shoppers have interacted with self-checkouts in the last six months and more than six-in-10 (63 percent) shoppers agree self-checkout solutions provide an improved customer experience. While agreement is highest among Millennials at 73 percent, 66 percent of Gen X shoppers and 50 percent of Boomers have also realized an improved customer experience from self-checkout solutions in the last year. Meanwhile, 86 percent of retail decision-makers and 71 percent of store associates agree self-checkouts improve the customer experience. Almost 9-in-10 decision-makers and more than 7-in-10 associates believe self-checkouts freed employees up to do higher priority tasks and better serve customers while helping meet health and safety mandates and protocols.

Safety now part of in-store experience

Consumer and associate confidence can be increased when precautions or safety measures are put into place. Currently, there is a sizable trust gap between retail decision-makers, shoppers and associates when it comes to health and safety. While approximately 90 percent of decision-makers think shoppers and associates trust them to make health and safety a priority, only 65 percent of shoppers and 77 percent of associates agree. Nearly two-thirds (67 percent) of shoppers are concerned with surface sanitation or social exposure in stores, and 59 percent of shoppers prefer stores with contactless payment options. Seven-in-10 associates say social distancing/contact tracing apps would allow them to provide a better customer experience.

“Our study found that shoppers’ in-store and online satisfaction significantly declined this year due to out-of-stocks, product variety, online delivery cost and timing and returns,” said Deep Agarwal, Regional Sales Director – Indian Sub-Continent, Zebra Technologies Asia Pacific. “Retailers are aware that success hinges on elevating the shopper experience and investments in analytics, mobile ordering and smart checkout will provide a more seamless and satisfying omnichannel experience.”



– 7-in-10 (70 percent) shoppers prefer direct delivery of items rather than picking them up at a store.
– 65 percent of shoppers prefer shopping at stores with contactless payment options.

Europe and the Middle East

– More than 8-in-10 (83 percent) decision-makers say the pandemic accelerated their implementation plans for mobile devices and solutions, the highest score of any region.
– Approximately three-quarters (76 percent) of shoppers prefer to shop at online retailers that also have brick-and-mortar locations.

Latin America

– 87 percent of shoppers agree the use of technology helps retailers provide a safe, comfortable, and convenient experience, the highest score of any region.
– Almost 90 percent of shoppers have used mobile ordering and intend to continue using it.

North America

– Seventy-two percent of store associates prefer to have prescribed tasks rather than reading reports to help them manage their day.
– More than three-in-four (77 percent) decision-makers reported feeling pressure to improve fulfillment operations and efficiency so they could offer a variety of delivery options and speeds.

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