2017 Retail Vision Study

To gain a deeper understanding of retailers’ focus, concerns and investment plans, Zebra conducted a global research study across a wide spectrum of retail segments, including: specialty stores, department stores, apparel merchants, supermarkets, electronics, home improvement and drugstore chains.

At retail chains around the globe, “smart” products, like smartphone-controlled home thermostats and running shoes that track mileage and correct your form, are increasingly dotting store shelves - from Paris to Peoria.

It’s part of a larger shift.

Just as the Internet of Things, an ever-growing network of web-enabled physical objects, is adding a new dimension to consumer products.

It’s also redefining how retailers are bringing that very merchandise to market.

Indeed, “smart” devices, powered with sensors and network connectivity that collect and exchange data, are weaving unprecedented business intelligence throughout the retail ecosystem, from the warehouse to the store floor.

Retailers are investing in IoT technologies - from beacons that beam shoppers customized coupons to radio frequency identification tags that track inventory - to simplify, enliven and customize the shopping experience, generate revenue, and reduce costs, revealed the study.

They’re embracing IoT platforms to transform real time, visibility-driven data throughout the supply chain into actionable insights.

The shift to IoT technologies is an industry imperative to keep step with the shopping habits and expectations of consumers reshaped by the tech revolution that’s still unfurling.

Digital disruption - most profoundly, online shopping and smartphones - has birthed ever connected, savvy shoppers who have the globe’s grandest mall at their fingertips.

And retailers, whether they realize it or not yet, are now largely catering to Millennials - who have eclipsed Baby Boomers as the world’s largest shopping group and will comprise 75% of the global workforce by 2025.

The key takeaway here: This group born between 1980 and 1995 mark the first generation of digital natives, for whom technology is second nature.

When it comes to the Internet of Things, stores are paying attention: Nearly 96% of retail decision makers are ready to make changes required to adopt IoT. Already, 67% percent of respondents have implemented IoT and another 26% are planning to deploy within a year.

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