At least this is what a global survey is asserting, based on automation trends and consumer preferences for reducing pandemic risks

In its annual report on the opinions and expectations of today’s shopper experience, technology usage and fulfilment, Zebra Technologies asserts that its respondents “are returning to shop in stores in similar numbers seen prior to the pandemic.”

Based on a global survey of about 4,200 shoppers, retail associates and retail decision-makers in June and July 2022, the firm reports that respondents had also embraced “self-serve habits” such as self-checkouts and cashless payment options, giving retail associates more time on the floor to help shoppers.

Also, while shoppers in the survey were returning to stores, 68% of APAC respondents (76% globally) wanted to get in and out as quickly as possible.

Other findings for APAC include:

    • 74% of surveyed retail associates in APAC (78% globally), and 82% of respondents who were decision-makers (84% globally) indicated that leveraging retail technology and mobile devices attracted and retained more retail associates.
    • 80% of APAC retailers in the survey (the highest percentage among global respondents) indicated that upskilling/reskilling current store staff was a significant challenge.
    • 68% of APAC respondents had seen the lowest impact of inflation on shoppers delaying purchases, compared to other regions
    • More than eight in 10 retailers surveyed indicated an aim to enable more retail associates or seasonal staff to help customers pick and fulfill online orders for the 2022 holiday season to improve the shopping experience.
    • About eight in 10 respondents indicated they prioritized spending with retailers that offered easy returns. Almost three-quarters of respondents preferred the option to have items delivered and opted for retailers that offer in-store or curbside pick-up. Seven in 10 preferred shopping both in-store and online and favored online retailers that also offered brick-and-mortar locations.
    • Half of shoppers in APAC surveyed preferred paying with a mobile device or smartphone; 48% prefer self-checkout; and there was a decline in numbers preferring a traditional check-out register staffed by a store associate.

Finally, a “majority of retailers” in the survey believed staffed checkouts were becoming less necessary with automation technology. In APAC, 79% of respondents viewed staffed checkouts as less necessary, while 53% had converted store space to self-serve areas and 52% were offering contactless options.