Combining technology with people-focused empowerment can enhance customers’ shopping experiences
Honeywell reveals some of the top trends in the retail supply chain in the new post-pandemic age as consumers return to in-store shopping.
As the global retail industry makes a comeback with brick-and-mortar stores, a similar trend is also visible in the Middle East. The size of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) retail sector is expected to rise to $308 billion in 2023 at a compound annual growth rate of 4% from $253.2 billion in 2018. MENA e-commerce sales also continue to grow, with around nine in 10 customers in MENA becoming digital converts since the pandemic and who will continue to buy online, while in parallel also shopping in physical stores.
The need for frictionless retail
Retailers are increasingly unifying their operations so that customers can have a frictionless shopping experience – one that removes frustrations such as items online not being available in-store and challenges with online returns. Top technologies enabling frictionless retail include contactless checkout, digitally informed employees and inventory optimization. A key benefit of digital transformation is improved customer experience, as 94% of consumers believe a positive experience will make them more likely to purchase again.
Stores today are expected to be more than just shopping locations. They’re taking on a much more complex role of serving as product showrooms, fulfillment centers, reverse logistics hubs, immersive experience venues and much more. By leveraging the latest technologies and process improvements, retailers can help create memorable retail environments for shoppers that make customers feel as if their shopping experience was especially curated for them.
Technology driving employee and customer satisfaction
Digitalization is enabling operations to become smarter, less error-prone and more predictable. This is driven by advanced technology through innovators such as Honeywell. Equipping store associates with digital tools, such as Honeywell’s CT30 mobile computer, allows them to instantaneously collaborate with colleagues, quickly check inventory and conduct customer checkout from anywhere in the store. This is an approach that can generate efficiency and improve both employee and customer satisfaction.
“Customers today expect a seamless experience whether they are shopping online or in-store, wanting ease of product selection, check-out and returns. Driven by such evolved market demands, Honeywell hardware and software technologies are helping retailers empower employees, boost worker productivity and help better serve customers,” said Minda Xu, vice president and general manager, High Growth Regions, Safety and Productivity Solutions (SPS) at Honeywell.
The retail industry has created several solutions to serve flexibility for customers throughout their shopping journeys for greater satisfaction. As part of having a holistic approach, innovative solutions are providing flexibility from the selection of items, to purchase option and even pickup, shipping and delivery options. As an example, Honeywell Smart Pay turns mobile computers into payment terminals, allowing store customers to check-out anywhere a business sells and delivers goods and services.
The retail industry is continuously evolving to deliver enhanced experiences for customers and workers. Honeywell develops and deploys an innovative range of digital tools to help empower a more efficient workforce and create frictionless retail environments.