Interview: Why IoT is a Big Game-Changer in Retail Industry

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r. Ryan Goh, Vice President of Sales, Asia Pacific, Zebra Technologies

We spoke to Mr. Ryan Goh, Vice President of Sales, Asia Pacific, Zebra Technologies and he answered some of our questions about the future of retail industry in Asia and how Zebra Technologies will leverage on upcoming trends and developments to deliver a better experience to its retail customers.

How do you think Asia’s retail industry will develop in the next 5 years?

In 2013, retailers were focused on ways to cater to the customer. Retailers fully understood the need to engage with their customers both online and in person at brick and mortar stores. The omni-channel shopping experience became less of a concept and more of an aspirational goal from ‘mom and pop’ shops to large department stores. This omni-channel trend is not going away in 2014. 2013 laid the groundwork for even more customer engagement made possible by technologies such as mobile point of sale (MPOS), RFID tags and scanners and more holistic commerce solutions.

Spurred by rising smartphone penetration, mobile commerce will become increasingly important. Brands and retailers will need to embrace new channels and focus on creating even more immersive customer experiences and opportunities to purchase by equipping associates with mobile technologies they can use to inform their customers on the spot such as supplying associates with tablets.

The growth of the retail industry will also likely drive adoption of new inventory management technologies such as RFID tagging. With the capability to scan multiple items at the same time at a much faster rate, RFID-enabled inventory systems enable retailers to be more cost and time effective while minimizing inventory errors.

What new products will Zebra Technologies be rolling out to take advantage of the change?

Zebra is actively looking into developing solutions to help retailers mobilize their operations and effectively address three areas of their business – Customer Engagement, Operational Efficiency and Management Insight. We already have a strong suite of hardware devices and software applications designed for the retail sector and will continue to shape our offerings based on the latest enterprise trends as well as customer and end user pain points.

Can you give me an example of how a recent newly launched product has helped your clients to overcome their challenges?

An established Singapore retailer was seeking to improve operational efficiency and raise customer satisfaction at its departmental stores. While customers were provided with a wide range of fashion apparels and household products, they previously had to make their way across the store to complete their purchase at the cashier which becomes crowded particularly during sales and festive periods.

Working with the retailer’s system integrator, Zebra helped develop and implement a mobile Point-of-Sale (MPOS) system to enable its sales staff complete customer purchases anywhere in the store. This resulted in faster payment transactions and reduced waiting time – leading to quicker sales and more satisfied customers.

How can Zebra Technologies create a more personalised service and overall experience for its retail customers and in turn their customers too?

Zebra has offered retailers a host of solutions to help them create a more immersive customer experience and reward patrons for repeat business.

Zebra’s card printing solutions are used by retailers such as US-based online retailer shopLAstyle.com to create personalized loyalty and gift cards in-house and on-demand, allowing customers to begin using their cards immediately. Zebra’s self-service kiosks and mobile point-of-sales solutions have also been deployed to speed up transactions, provide value-added services such as generating promotional coupons, and raise overall customer experience.

Retailers now are also able to create a bigger impact on customer satisfaction with RFID technologies which allows greater personalization and prompter services. With RFID and mobile technologies, retailers will be able to equip their service staff to provide hassle-free and mobile customer support. For example, by simply scanning an RFID code, retail staff will be able to access more information about a product such as product availability and origin, and even process customer payment on the spot.

Can you briefly explain the range of products/solutions that Zebra Technologies showcased at Cards & Payments 2014?

The “Internet of Things” has been a big buzzword in 2013, with many analysts forecasting it to be a game-changer in the way businesses operate. In the retail industry, the “Internet of Retail” spans across the massive influx of data from multiple processes at the supply chain to customer experience and inventory management at the retail storefront. Over the past few years, Zebra Technologies have been tracking the trends and diving deep into ways of translating the massive influx of data into actionable insights that can help retailers. At Cards & Payments 2014, we showcased some of the resultant solutions which we have identified.

Thank you for your time Ryan!

What do you think? Zebra Technologies was the Registration Sponsor at the 19th annual Cards & Payments Asia 2014 expo – Asia’s largest and most established smart cards & payments gathering.  Interested to learn more about Zebra Technologies’ solutions for your retail business? Visit www.zebra.com or or or drop them a message at SGMarcom@zebra.com

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