A recent study shows that retailers are actively seeking innovative technologies to revolutionize store efficiency, mitigate increasing retail theft, and address critical labor shortages.
According to the study, key findings include:
- Loss Prevention Rises to the Top of the Agenda: 92 percent of retailers say improving loss prevention is an important driver of their store technology strategy, up from 52 percent just a year ago. Almost all (98 percent) of business executives and 85 percent of IT executives cite loss prevention as the most important outcome for investments in store systems.
- Omnichannel Efficiency Vital Yet Underachieved: Store efficiency, the number one driver of retail business strategy, enhances customer satisfaction and profit margins. However, only 36 percent of grocery and general merchandise retailers express satisfaction with their current technology infrastructure.
- Retailers Have a Digital Associate Experience Divide: Only 11 percent of retailers meet the digital experience expectations of their Gen Z store associates. Just 26 percent of grocery and general merchandise retailers are pleased with the technological tools available to their staff.
- Automation and AI Have Significant Potential but Understanding Is Limited: A mere 14 percent of retailers have a common understanding of AI across the organization. Although retailers estimate 72 percent of store tasks can be fully or partially automated, only 33 percent have been automated to date.
“This shift is not just about technology implementation; it’s about shaping a new retail paradigm,” said Gaurav Pant, chief insights officer at Incisiv. “Bridging the omnichannel gap is not just a matter of competitive advantage but a necessity for survival, and adopting new technologies like automation is the frontier for differentiation. The disparity in digital experience for store associates, especially among Gen Z, is more than just a technological shortfall; it’s a wake up call. Retailers must accelerate their digital initiatives to empower their workforce.”
“As retailers tackle loss prevention and real-time inventory tracking through the deployment of AI-powered live video analysis demanding more bandwidth and speed, their networks will be stressed like never before,” said James Hughes, retail CTO, Verizon Business. “Retailers continue to venture on their digital transformation journeys and it is imperative to bring together disconnected systems to create powerful, modular, and intelligent solutions that can enable new functionalities, smarter insights, and faster decision making.”
“What I found most striking about the results of the survey was that there is a distinct gap between the business needs expressed by those responsible for retail operations, and the perceived needs and resultant capabilities provided by their existing technology platforms.” said Mark Scanlan, global industry lead at Cisco. “This will ultimately result in the business deploying shadow IT solutions to deliver the functionality they need.
To learn more, download the full results of the 2024 Connected Retail Experience Study: Focusing on Omnichannel Efficiency.