Wednesday, 28 August 2019 10:39

The State of the Retail Industry: Evolving Fulfillment Options and Retailers Future plans

In today’s on-demand economy consumers have the luxury of shopping wherever and however they want. Zebra’s 2019 Shopper Vision Study revealed that shoppers still prefer to shop in-store over online, but brick and mortar retailers still need to be able to provide the level of convenience that shoppers are accustomed to.

Boosting convenience in-store

Brick and mortar stores can make shopping more convenient for customers by offering more fulfillment options. Zebra’s study revealed that retail decision makers are equipping their physical stores to become both fulfillment hubs as well as product showrooms.

The key is to keep the point-of-sale easy and frictionless for shoppers. Making the purchasing process easy for shoppers enables them to spend more. So, brands may soon find themselves offering a wider range of order fulfilment and delivery options—like order in-store and ship to home, or order online and pick up in-store (click and collect).

Retailers’ fulfilment plans for 2019

E-commerce order fulfilment poses its challenges, though—regardless of whether shoppers order themselves or a sales assistant orders on their behalf. Consumers are accustomed to the speed and ease of e-commerce. They now expect the same experience to extend to every channel, especially when it comes to delivery.

The 2019 Shopper Vision Study revealed 32% of shoppers prefer same-day delivery with 34% willing to pay the additional cost for it. To meet these expectations, the study revealed more than half of retail decision makers currently offer free shipping, and if they don’t, 28% plan to by the year’s end.

Other retailer fulfilment trends to expect within the coming year:

  • Web order fulfilment
  • Product transfers between store locations
  • Direct shipments to warehouses and/or consumers
  • Buy online, ship to home
  • Buy online, pick up in-store
  • Buy in store, ship to home
  • Buy online, return in-store
  • Buy online, pick up at third-party location (like lockers or convenience stores)

Retailers’ investment plans for 2019

 Besides evolving fulfilment options, retailers also plan to invest more in retail technology solutions to improve customer service in their brick and mortar stores. The Shopper Vision study revealed that nearly 60% of decision makers plan to increase investments in barcode scanner-equipped handheld mobile computers by at least 6% over the next three years and 38% plan the same for rugged tablets.

These technologies give sales assistants the ability to scan barcodes for price checks, do product lookups, access customer loyalty programs; real-time staff communication; and larger screens to bring product features to life and allow for customer interaction. 

To learn more about current shopper behaviors and what’s shaking the retail industry, read the full 2019 Shopper Vision Study.

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