Retail Trends 2023: More Automation and Mobility | Zebra & e2

As high inflation and interest rates permeate through the economy, consumer wallets will continue to be stretched through 2023 as they burn through the $3.3 trillion in savings accumulated during the COVID-19 pandemic. Experts predict sales events to be a key driver for consumers in 2023 putting pressure on retailers to deliver even more value to their customers, and in the short-term, will weaken retailers’ razor-thin margins. Can Zebra and eSquared’s mobility solutions solve retailer woes in 2023? 

There’s light at the end of the tunnel as retailers’ fears have been allayed by better-than-expected results during the holiday season. Sales from Nov. 1 to Dec. 24. 2022 ticked up 7.6%1 and Thanksgiving weekend 2022 added 20 million2 more shoppers looking for value. 

What Can You Expect in 2023?  

Macroeconomic indicators point to a still-healthy consumer market. Metrics such as savings, employment, and real wage growth are likely to moderate from currently strong levels.  

  • A modest decline in retail volumes due to softening in savings and employment 
  • Automation will play a role in optimizing operations 
  • Sales events will be key to driving customer spend 
  • BOPIS is here to stay 
  • A more agile retailer and experiential retail experiences can aid in driving spend 

71% of associates and 81% of decision-makers want the ability to order out-of-stock items on the spot with the customer.3

How Does Mobile Automation Help You? 

Technological advances significantly impact the retail industry. Retailers of all sizes must adjust to ever-changing tech trends as mobile technology transforms the retail experience. Companies such as Zebra, Amazon, Samsung, and Apple have created tools for associates and consumers to conduct transactions in the palm of their hands.  

BOPIS is here to stay

BOPIS or Buy Online, Pick Up In-Store, adds convenience for customers and allows them to do their shopping online from the comfort of their homes and provides the choice of delivery or pick up via drive-thru, curbside, or in-store at their own time.  

54% of consumers want retailers to offer mobile ordering for convenience.3 BOPIS gives control to customers, allowing them to customize their shopping experience to suit their needs.   

A Zebra smartphone scanner solution like the RFD 40 is great for checking and verifying customer orders efficiently. 

Inventory Transparency for Customers

Inventory visibility online and in-store allows shoppers to connect to what they want and can help drive in-store traffic. Accuracy at high velocity is key to providing a seamless online and in-store customer experience and converting a sale. 

84% of decision-makers and 73% of associates agree that their companies need better inventory management tools.3 Automation can help speed up the inventory process, reduce shrinkage, improve operational efficiencies, minimize out-of-stock, and improve omnichannel performance and order fulfillment.  

eSquared x Zebra’s back-of-house solutions can process large volumes, on top of simplifying shipping and receiving, speed up order picking and packing, labeling, and more.

Stop Dreading Returns and Fulfillment

Returns and fulfillment are an unavoidable part of retail and can make or break the customer experience. The combination of online and in-store purchases adds complexity in managing returns. 67% of retail associates and 86% of decision-makers agree that accepting and managing online order returns pose a significant issue to their organization.3 

Get ahead of omnichannel challenges with advanced operational synchronization, real-time inventory visibility, and reliable communication. Manage fulfillment and returns effectively with eSquared’s custom POS solutions, over-IP scanners, and mobile devices from Samsung and Apple. 

Enable Positive In-Store Customer Experiences

Customers prefer a mobile experience at home all the way to the store. Post-pandemic customers expect a seamless transition from online to in-store mobile convenience, and the accuracy of product availability, price, and promotions.  

But why stop there? Leverage digital kiosks to showcase in-store-only promotions, empower associates with mobility to upsell or immediately win-back customer trust if an item is out of stock through advance order reservation and price-lock guarantees. 71% of associates and 81% of decision-makers want the ability to order out-of-stock items on the spot with the customer.3  

eSquared’s mobility solutions can help. Zebra Wearables, smartphone scanners, and Zebra mobile POS systems can close the gap between a customer leaving empty-handed and an on-the-spot sale for at-home delivery or in-store pickup. 

Empower Sales Associates with the Zebra Mobility Tech

Enhance workforce productivity with retail-ready solutions that help uncover early opportunities and improve associate and customer satisfaction. 61% of retail associates feel more positive about employers when provided with helpful, modern technology.3 

Achieve complete visibility into your inventory, unify your teams, and accelerate workflow and productivity with mobile technology. Associates and shoppers agree that handheld mobile computers, barcode scanners, and wearables improve the customer experience. 

We procure, set up, manage, and deploy retail hardware and software solutions, like the latest POS tablets from Apple/Samsung to Zebra’s TC53 mobile workstation/scanner, enabling your associates to easily verify pricing, check inventory via scanning barcodes, and quickly process a transaction.

How eSquared and Zebra serves the Retail Industry 

eSquared empowers retail, construction, field service, manufacturing, transportation and logistics, and healthcare teams to achieve a competitive edge. We deliver tailored, end-to-end business mobility solutions that seamlessly connect people, assets, and data to help our customers make insightful business decisions that grow the bottom-line. 

Accelerate your entire retail ecosystem with our strategic guidance and end-to-end solutions. Let’s get started.

1 Data from MasterCard SpendingPulse
2 Compared to 2021 according to NRF
3 Zebra Retail Insights