In-store automation is expected to proliferate in retail settings in coming years.
More food retailers are tapping into technology to improve operational efficiency to reduce costs and increase profitability, according to a recent study conducted by industry insights firm Incisiv and Verizon Business. In fact, retailers plan to automate up to 70% of routine store tasks in the next two years.
The "2023 Connected Retail Experience Study" also found that use of artificial intelligence (AI) to improve store operations is projected to increase nine times by 2025. Technology including mobile point of sale (POS) and curbside pickup sensors are expected to increase deployment across all retailers, and the deployment of robotics for associate tasks is expected to increase over the next few years, particularly among grocery and general merchandise retailers.
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As for 2023, retail technology investments will focus on improving inventory accuracy and visibility, improving store associate productivity and improving integration between store and digital systems. With the rise of automation, retailers expect to leverage increased labor and productivity benefits by putting associates in more customer-facing, high-value tasks, as well as those that support business operations.
"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."
Additionally, more new in-store technology, the adoption of cloud applications, and increased customer and store associate devices will test the store network’s ability to handle additional traffic.
“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, SVP 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."