Insights

In-Store Hardware a Top Retail Priority for 2017

By Alex Goodwin

December 7, 2016

According to Innovative Retail Technologies, retailers plan to invest heavily in in-store hardware in 2017. The move is a natural answer to shoppers’ increasing demands for a full-circle omnichannel experience which realizes seamless transition from online to in-store shopping.

Here are some of the areas of retail hardware which will see the heaviest investment in 2017:

Empowering sales associates with mobile devices

The largest area of investment reported by survey participants is mobile devices for sales associates; 37 percent said they’d be investing in this area. This speaks volumes about the type of shopping experience customers are demanding – connected, immersive, and offering a deeper level of product and inventory information.

With the right mobile hardware, sales associates do the hard work of product research for the shopper, becoming an in-aisle shopping assistant who can access product information and suggest complementary items with a quick, image-based scan.

Focusing on digital signage & self-service kiosks

Twenty-nine percent of survey respondents said they’ll be investing in digital signage in 2017, again reflecting a response to shoppers’ preference for a connecting shopping experience. But good hardware goes beyond static digital signs and price scanning, which is probably why 27 percent reported they’d be investing in self-service kiosks.

Next-gen devices are becoming full-service digital kiosks, allowing customers to access loyalty programs for deals and special pricing or shop a brand’s full inventory for product location (both in-store and across other branches) and similar item suggestion. Plus, these tablet-based devices are doing it with image-based scanners that can scan the symbologies of retail’s future like Digimarc codes and printed images. This is a huge area of opportunity for retailers to reward customers’ interest in richer product information by creating exciting, immersive shopping experiences.

POS poised to grow – especially mobile

Of the thousands of survey participants, including retailers across the spectrum from Tier One to boutique to grocery, some of heaviest investment will be in POS hardware. Twenty-eight percent of participants said they’ll invest in traditional POS hardware, and 35 percent said they’ll invest in mobile POS hardware.

The higher investment in mobile POS is a result of an increasingly connecting shopper who expects their in-store experience to mirror their shopping habits. Mobile POS capabilities let them checkout wherever and whenever they’re ready, and POS hardware built on mobile devices allow sales associates to clientele and clinch the sale with product information, all from the same device.

The right mobile POS hardware goes beyond simple payment functionality to allow for product look-up and provide inventory information – both critical steps in boosting cart size and helping shoppers complete their purchase journey.

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