So are in-store prices that cannot match online offers that APAC millennials monitor closely.

Shopping often starts before customers enter a store. Customers expect that items they see online are in-stock – achieving what is hardest for e-commerce to deliver—instant gratification. When it comes to brick-and-mortar purchasing, price is a top priority for shoppers. Almost three in 10 (29%) of shoppers surveyed report leaving a store because the price did not match the one found online.

In a recent survey of shopper behavior, 86% of millennial shoppers and more than half (56%) of Gen X shoppers indicated they shopped in a store and left without a purchase, only to end up buying the item online, compared to only 25% of babyboomers (the generation before Gen X). Shoppers indicate out-of-stock items as the top reason for leaving without a purchase.

Retailers are working hard to implement the advancements shoppers have come to expect from the online shopping experience. A majority (63%) of shoppers believe that associates using handheld computers with built-in scanners can improve the shopping experience. Nearly half of associates report in store mobile devices help them provide a better shopping experience by enabling them to: find correct prices (48%), answer questions (46%) and save customers’ time (42%).

These are some of the findings of a study by retail and enterprise solutions firm Zebra Technologies. Said the firm’s APAC Vertical Solutions Lead (Healthcare and Retail), George Pepes: “Our study shows that while better services will help retain current shoppers and attract new ones, retailers need to make sure they have the basics right when it comes to product availability, ease of finding products, returns and exchanges. To win with shoppers today, retailers must deliver the seamless, multi-channel experience that customers expect and leverage technology to provide more personalized services for managing inventory and building smarter operations.”

Key regional findings


  • Nearly 58% of shoppers prefer to shop with online retailers that also have brick and mortar outlets
  • 40% of shoppers prefer to make purchases via mobile devices and smartphones

Europe and the Middle East

  • 66% of shoppers reported satisfaction with their ability to pay anywhere in the store
  • Only 14% of shoppers completely trust retailers to protect their personal data

Latin America

  • 71% percent of shoppers said self-checkout provides them with a better shopping experience and 64% prefer using the technology to a staffed checkout lane
  • More than 83% of shoppers are interested in receiving a coupon or cash-back offer in exchange for waiting up to four days for delivery of an online purchase

North America

  • Only 6% of shoppers said they completely trust retailers to protect their personal data, the lowest score of any region
  • North American holiday shoppers expect to spend 58% of their holiday budget in physical stores

General findings

According to the survey analysis, the future of retail belongs to digital natives who expect technology-enabled experiences. The likelihood of shoppers using in store technology services:

  • 63% of shoppers are likely to use video touchscreen to locate items, check prices, receive promotions and scan barcodes
  • 59% of shoppers are likely to use location-based coupons sent based on a shopper’s in-store location
  • 58% of shoppers are likely to use auto checkout services where they can leave a store without stopping to pay for items

Returns policies vary in influence

The flip side of e-commerce is that, in countries that mandate return policies, the technology has created a new retail reality where consumers expect unlimited returns. The returns experience continues to remain a source of shopper discontent and represents a perception gap between retailers and shoppers. Retail executives believe that 80% are satisfied with returns, but only 57% really are.

It is no surprise that 81% of retail executives agreed that managing returns of online orders is a significant challenge. About 51% of retail executives have started or are planning to upgrade their returns management technologies in the next five years. Stores are doubling as distribution centers, fulfilling online orders to streamline processes and move services closer to end-customers.

Said Fang-How Lim, Zebra’s regional director for Southeast Asia: “Brick-and-mortar stores in Southeast Asia have not only withstood the digitalisation of retail, they have also become more influential in shoppers’ purchasing decisions. The reality is that there is no one-size-fits-all technology architecture that will work for every retailer. There are, however, a set of real-time technologies that have proven to be most impactful when it comes to improving fulfillment speed and accuracy.”

Retailers can adopt technology to improve retail operations and customer satisfaction, including wearable smart devices for instantaneous inventory queries, or high-speed point-of-sale equipment to reduce customer waiting times. “In today’s on-demand economy, having visibility over price changes or product location, and the right tools to act instantly can significantly improve consumers’ online and offline shopping experiences,” Lim said.