Smarts in retail: survey finds tablets useful

Survey finds two-thirds of retail store workers believe they can provide better customer service with tablets – less than 15% of shoppers completely trust retailers to protect personal data.
Zebra has revealed the results of its 11th annual Global Shopper Study, analysing the attitudes, opinions, and expectations of shoppers, retail workers and retail decision makers. The results show that two-thirds (66 per cent) of surveyed workers believe that if they are equipped with tablets, they could provide better customer service.
Fifty five per cent of surveyed retail store workers agree that their company is understaffed, and nearly one-half (49%) feel overworked. Store workers cite frustration with their inability to assist customers as 42% find they have little time to help shoppers because of pressure to get other tasks completed. Another 28% claim that it’s difficult to get information to help shoppers. Most surveyed retail decision makers (83%) and store workers (74%) concur that shoppers can have a better experience with technology-equipped sales workers.
Meanwhile, only 13% of surveyed shoppers completely trust retailers to protect their personal data, the lowest level of trust among 10 different industries. Seventy three per cent of surveyed shoppers prefer flexibility to control how their personal information is used.
“Our study reveals shopper expectations are on the rise,” said senior vice president and chief marketing officer at Zebra Technologies Jeff Schmitz. “While retailers are addressing fulfilment challenges, they also need to provide more trusted, personalised shopping that gives customers what they want, when, where, and how they want it.”
The study also identified diverging expectations on the impact of automation between retailers and store workers. Nearly 80% of retail decision makers – compared to 49% of store workers – agree that staff checkout areas are becoming less necessary due to new technologies that can automate checkout. Also, more than half of retail decision makers (52%) are converting point-of-sale (POS) space to self-checkout, and 62% are transforming it for online order pickup.
More than one-half of shoppers (51%) believe they are better connected with their smartphones than store workers. Retailers are investing in edge technologies to combat this gap. Nearly 60% of retailers plan to increase their spending on handheld mobile computers by more than 6%, and more than one-in-five retailers (21%) plan to spend greater than 10% on rugged tablets over the next three years.
The key regional findings in the Asia-Pacific were:

  • Sixty-two per cent of retail workers view their employer more positively if provided with a mobile device for work-related activities.
  • Nearly half (49%) of retail workers say that mobile point of sale (mPOS) devices help them do their job better.

 

Government, privacy and automated trucks

Addressing the privacy challenges of government access to information generated by automated vehicles and specific transport network technology is the subject of a discussion paper released by the National Transport Commission (NTC).
“Cooperative intelligent transport systems (C-ITS) and automated vehicle technology are producing new data and information. We need to examine whether Australia’s current privacy and information access framework sufficiently covers this new data,” said NTC’s acting chief executive Dr Geoff Allan.
He said the technology included in these new systems might generate in-cabin image data, location and route data, and data from biometric or health sensors.
“Governments will need to access automated vehicle and C-ITS information for purposes including the safety regulation of automated vehicles, optimising road networks and enforcing road laws,” Dr Allan said. “However, government access to the type, breadth and depth of personal or sensitive information generated by C-ITS and automated vehicle technology presents a privacy challenge. We currently have different protections in place in different states and territories. We need to have an appropriate framework in place to protect Australians’ privacy.”
The NTC’s discussion paper identifies three categories of new privacy challenges, and outlines options to address these as they relate to automated vehicle and C-ITS technology. The paper’s scope is based on previous recommendations agreed by transport ministers. The paper does not examine private sector access to data.
Academics from the University of NSW have completed an independent legal research report to examine the application of Australia’s existing information access framework to inform the discussion paper.
The NTC invites submissions from information and privacy commissions, state and territory transport agencies, enforcement and justice agencies, industry, academics and individuals.
Submissions can be made online via the NTC’s website at ntc.gov.au/submissions. Submissions close on 22 November 2018, with recommendations due to Australian transport ministers in May 2019.
 

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