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More than half of retailers ready to go all-in on Internet of Things

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy
HOLTSVILLE, N.Y. — As the retail industry continues its digital transformation, chains need a new formula to best service its shoppers.
 
To achieve this goal, 70% of retail decision makers are ready to make changes to adopt the Internet of Things (IoT), according to the 2017 Retail Vision Study, from Zebra Technologies. The study analyzes the technology trends shaping the future of the global retail industry and enhancing the shopping experience.
 
As online shopping becomes mission-critical in this age of transformation, retailers are challenged with providing unprecedented levels of convenience to help drive customer loyalty. While efforts only scratch the surface currently, within four years, these intentions will become priorities.
 
With 57% of retailers believing that automation will shape the industry by 2021, retailers will pursue IoT-enabled programs to streamline packing and shipping orders, tracking inventory and checking in-store inventory levels, and assisting customers in finding items. The first step in the equation, however, is to integrate e-commerce and in-store experiences to create seamless shopper experiences — and issue that 78% of companies find important or business-critical. 
 
Within four years, 65% percent of retailers also plan to explore innovative delivery services, such as delivering to workplaces, homes and even parked cars. Meanwhile, nearly 80% of retailers will be able to customize the store visit for customers as a majority of them will know when a specific customer is in the store. This will be enabled through technology such as micro-locationing, which allows retailers to capture more data, accuracy and customer insights. 
 
And 65% plan to invest in automation technologies for inventory management and planogram compliance, the study said.
 
To speed check-out lines, retailers plan to invest in mobile devices, kiosks and tablets to increase payment options. Specifically, 87% of retailers will deploy mobile point-of-sale (MPOS) devices by 2021, enabling them to scan and accept credit or debit payments anywhere in the store. 
 
With big data becoming mission-critical to 73% of retailers’ digital retailing endeavors, by 2021, at least 75% of companies anticipate investing in predictive and software analytics for loss prevention and price optimization, along with cameras and video analytics for operational purposes and improving the overall customer experience.
 
These digitally centric tools will also benefit the shopper. The top sources of shopper dissatisfaction include inconsistent pricing between stores and the inability to find a desired item, whether it’s out of stock or misplaced within a store. That said, 72% of retailers plan to fix these issues by reinventing their supply chains with real-time visibility enabled by automation, sensors and analytics.
 
“Every inch of the retail industry is changing, from the aisles of the warehouse to the shelves of the store, and retailers are driving this change in a race to better serve customers,” said Jeff Schmitz, senior VP and chief marketing officer, Zebra. “The 2017 Retail Vision Study demonstrates that retailers are poised to meet and exceed customer expectations with new levels of personalization, speed and convenience.”
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Meijer investing $375M to build and remodel stores

BY Brian Berk

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Meijer is investing more than $375 million to build new stores and remodel existing stores in its six-state footprint. This investment includes the construction of seven new Meijer supercenters and 22 different remodel projects.

“These projects represent an investment in our customers, team members and the local communities that have supported us for so long,” Meijer President and CEO Rick Keyes said. “We’re also excited that at long last we’ll cross the bridge and open our first stores in Michigan’s upper peninsula.”

By the end of 2017, Meijer will have remodeled and upgraded nearly 90 stores since 2010, as part of a company commitment to provide customers with the best possibly shopping experience. The retailer will have opened more than 50 new stores since 2010.

The seven new Meijer supercenters will be located in Escanaba, Mich.; Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.; McCordsville, Ind.; Franklin, Ind.; Greenfield, Wis.; Howard, Wis. (Green Bay area); and West Bend, Wis.

Grand Rapids-based Meijer operates more than 230 supercenters and grocery stores in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky and Wisconsin.

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