We spoke to Mr. Ryan Goh, Vice President and General Manager, Asia Pacific, Zebra Technologies and he answered some of our questions about the outlook of South-east Asia’s retail industry and how Zebra Technologies can help their clients enhance their customer experience to stay ahead of the competition.
What is your view on South-east Asia’s retail outlook in the next 3 years?
2014 saw a growth of the omni-channel shopping experience, where retailers from “mom and pop” shops to large departmental stores started to engage more with their customers through both online channels and in person at brick and mortar stores. The increased deployment of Internet of Things (IoT) solutions saw a rise in customer engagement made possible by technologies such as mobile point of sale (MPOS), RFID tags and scanners and more holistic commerce solutions.
2015 will see an uptake in this trend in response or anticipation to rising pressure to incorporate more intelligent functionality into devices, to enhance relationships, empower processes, optimize costs and mitigate risks in the retail business.
Mobile commerce will become increasingly important as mobile technology and smartphone apps continue to have a positive impact on the lives of consumers and employees. Brands and retailers will need to embrace new channels and focus on creating even more immersive customer experiences and opportunities to purchase by equipping a more mobile and connected workforce and customer base.
As an increasing number of workers become less confined to a physical work space, enterprises will adopt tools to allow them to use cloud-based applications fed with real-time information about assets in their environment. The same goes for workers’ demand for real time intelligence about all of their critical assets increases, and retailers will turn to cloud-based platform software that provides integrated visibility and connectivity solutions to make their processes more efficient, and improve the consumer journey by making sense of enterprise asset intelligence.
Which countries will emerge as the key adopters of retail innovation?
Currently, there is strong IoT solution deployment momentum among global firms. A Forrester global study late last year showed that over 85 percent of enterprises in Asia Pacific believe that IoT solutions will be the most strategic technology initiative for themselves in a decade, higher than the global average by 5 percentage points. New and smarter cities, buildings, and infrastructure in many Asia Pacific countries have enabled this strong adoption rate—these same countries will emerge as the key adopters of retail innovation.
The same study showed that more than 80% of companies surveyed in China and India already have IoT technologies implemented in late 2014. Results from Singapore companies showed that approximately two-thirds of respondents have implementations, and a remaining 30% of respondents are expected to deploy these solutions within a year. The same speed and willingness to adopt new technologies is reflected in Australia and New Zealand, where nearly 50% of respondents implemented IoT solutions while another 10% expected to deploy by the end of 2015.
With your recent acquisition of Motorola, will there be a change of product offerings by Zebra? What can the market expect?
Much of our focus around the integration has been on people and processes to ensure we can serve our customers with the highest quality and give them the solutions they need to make better, smarter business decisions. While the integration requires a significant amount of effort, when you are bringing together two world class operations, it’s an exciting time filled with collaboration and opportunity.
The Enterprise business of Motorola Solutions has been the leader for many years in supplying rugged smart mobile computers used by workers on the move. And Zebra has been a leader in barcodes and RFID. The pairing will expand our geographic reach as the combined company will have roughly 20,000 channel partners in more than 100 countries, and a robust portfolio of intellectual property. Together we can combine the strengths of each company and build the undisputed leader in enterprise mobile devices and the internet of things. Importantly, we will be able to deliver complete end-to-end solutions to our customers. Many have expressed tremendous support for the combination. With the acquisition, one company will be able to deliver solutions that enhance Enterprise Asset Intelligence and enable our customers to make smarter business decisions.
Asia continues to be a big contributor to our record global growth. We are confident about the adoption of our cloud-based technologies and connected devices in this region as companies strive to take full advantage of the benefits of enterprise asset intelligence. Asian technology buyers see that our product offers real value and that the acquisition of the Enterprise business presents greater opportunities for their businesses to grow and develop to become as smart and connected as the world we live in.
Can you share a story on which Zebra technologies has helped your clients enhance their customer experience?
Long check-out queues and the festive season unfortunately go hand-in-hand. As retailers deploy their seasonal sales strategy to compete with competition both on the high street as well as online, brick and mortar retail stores have to constantly improve their customers’ total shopping experience by creatively finding ways to add value and delight customers when they walk into their stores.
Zebra has worked with large retailers to help equip sales associates with mobile devices with real time access to inventory information throughout stores and distribution centre. Apart from the ability to process a sale and print a receipt, retail associates are armed with real-time information that will provide customers with other options (e.g. home delivery or in-store pick up later) to help close a sale should there be a lack of inventory in store. With the devices linked to a single merchandising system powering online e-commerce, in-store and order online and pick-up in-store capability, Zebra’s solutions have helped these retailers retain a tighter control of inventory across all the channels.
Last year, Zebra shared on showcasing IOT solution for retailers. Are we expecting to see more innovations at this year’s Cards & Payments Asia?
In retail, the shopper’s experience is everything. The retail solutions we are offering will empower our partners with industry knowledge, consumer insight and retail mobile technology solutions to help them build experiences that connect with shoppers and keep them coming back.
For example, customers are often already educated in retail offerings, thanks to mobile phones and applications. We now offer solutions using beacons, Bluetooth® and Wi-Fi® together, so that retailers can continue to market directly to customers while they are in the store.
Zebra will also have communication solutions to help retailers empower and engage their sales associates, so they can make sure inventory is on the shelves with point-of-sale solutions that connect the showroom to merchandising and inventory management.
Our advanced infrastructure management tools will help drive down costs to empower I.T. teams to focus on mobile solutions and device management to develop enterprise asset intelligence, and allow sharp focus on wireless communications for customers, associates, and staff.
Can you give us a sneak preview to excite our visitors at this year’s show?
This year at Cards & Payments Asia, Zebra will showcase solutions that will empower sales associates to manage merchandising and inventories more efficiently even as they become more mobile. In order to help retailers become as smart and connected as the world their customers live in, there will also be solutions that can help retailers to engage with the connected shopper, and cater to individual needs by harnessing enterprise asset intelligence.
Thank you for your time Ryan!
What do you think? Zebra Technologies is the Registration Sponsor at the ongoing 20th annual Cards & Payments Asia 2015 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