There is a growing need for automation along all the industry verticals. This is mainly driven by an increasing demand for improvement in operational efficiency and cost reduction. Retail automation is no such exception, with the adoption of innovative tools, technology, and processes it has become easier to ensure a smooth and efficient operation in retail stores resulting in providing a better shopping experience for the consumers. On the other hand, it has become cost-effective for the retailers by helping them in reducing labor costs. In addition, automation in retail stores can help in boosting product sales. The major reason being that the deployment of automation technologies will significantly contribute to reducing longer waiting times in queues for payments. Also, the number of footfalls will increase significantly.
It is widely realized that today retail automation isn’t just used by big players. Several small and upcoming retailers are also finding ways for serving their customers by utilizing better automation solutions. These further help in reducing errors and help in serving particular customer needs. Also, the products are sold in a manner that a customer finds useful. Some of the popular retail automation products include vending machines, service kiosks, retail kiosks, self-checkout and retail apps. Retail Apps are referred to as mobile apps that add to a retail in-store experience. These apps integrate the e-commerce and in-store channels so that a customer is able to purchase a product is not available in-store as per his/her requirements. The presence of apps that are designed in order to interact with in-store items and displays are further offering strong opportunities for the retail automation market to grow at a significant pace. The growing e-commerce sales is further augmenting the market growth with the increasing internet penetration in the world along with the adoption of mobile devices like a smartphone. As per the United Nations telecommunications agency, around 8 billion individuals predicted to use internet by the end of 2018. Africa showed the strongest growth rate in accessing internet that increased from around 2% to 24% from 2005 to 2018.
Source: United Nations-ITU Statistics, Internet Access Growth Rate in Africa, 2005-2018
Retail Automation Is Sustainable
It has been noticed that retailers and customers are interested is linking automation with the growing trend of sustainability. Retailers estimated that automation can help them in offering more sustainable and eco-friendly solutions. This further indicates a strong consumer preference who wish to shop with retailers demonstrating green credentials. Many consumers desire to purchase items from those retailers that utilize automation for reducing food waste, reduction in consumables like printed receipts, and contribute to the improvement of energy efficiency, and thus offering sustainable information related to products. Hence, the increasing sustainability drive across the world will continue to propel the retail automation market growth at present and in future as well.
Retail Auomation Is Responding to the Changing Needs of the Customer
Coop Norway has offered an intelligent solution for individuals returning late at night who often look for something to eat. The company introduced an app allowing customers to enter the unstaffed store and help people to self-serve. Coop introduced a store in Central Oslo, Norway. The hyperlocal store functions in a regular manner during daytime but after it turns dark, the store transforms into an unmanned autonomous mode. All transactions are carried out in a digital mode. People who wish to shop after 11:00 PM and before 7 in the morning are allowed to purchase items through a cashless mode. The customer unlocks the door via an app, Coop Key. In order to keep away from thieves, the store contains two doors that needs to be unlocked by the customer itself. In between the two doors, a camera is installed for detecting that whether more than one person is trying to enter the store. The visitor scans a QR code in order to authenticate himself or herself. The customers pay for their purchase through the app and shopping is performed as usual. The company observed an increase in revenue between 11:00 PM and 12:00 midnight. A significant rise was observed for high-margin commodities such as frozen pizzas.
Hence, with the evolving customer needs, retail automation is gaining popularity that has helped in saving a lot of customer’s time and money. This is further attributed to the increasing demand for automation solutions with increasing urbanization and the adoption of modern living conditions. With the adoption of a modern lifestyle consumers demand convenient purchasing solutions that match their busy schedule. The growing construction of modern retail stores along with renovation of old retail outlets, the market is further projected to thrive. The trend is specifically being observed in the developing economies of the world.
In China, with a booming retail industry, online-to-offline strategy is being adopted by most of the retailers. It has been observed that many traditional retailers are actively engaged in pursuing digital expansion in order to promote a seamless incorporation of all channels that include physical, online, mobile, and others. The use of smart technologies is gaining momentum where to facilitate online-to-offline integration is significantly contributing to enhance the customer experience. This is further supported by the emergence of multiple technology-driven business models where digitization has led to the deployment of stores like AI-driven pop-up stores and unmanned stores. The growing deployment of pop-up stores in the country have led to reduction in set-up costs in comparison to permanent stores that rely on long-term leases.
Retail Automation Solutions
Xerox Corporation, workflow automation solutions for retail, Xerox® is capable of replacing manual error-prone tasks that are repetitive too. The automated retail workflows when in combination with data analysis and integrated with core systems is capable of reducing cycle times and delivering superior service. The solution provides a competitive edge in the current omnichannel era by operating at the convergence of digital and physical channels.
Probiz Technologies Pvt Ltd. offers the best hardware and software solutions for the retail industry. The solutions range from point of sale to handling complicated retail structures.