Zebra Technologies, global leader in innovation and reliability that give a virtual voice to an organization’s assets, recently invited the South African retail industry to an insightful and stimulating workshop to elaborate the role technology can play in the modern retail environment.
The workshop began by looking at the retail landscape of Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) regions then drilled down into Africa with attendants hailing from some of the biggest retail chains in the continent.

David Stain, market development manager for EMEA at Zebra Technologies says, “The retail environment today is more unforgiving than ever. There is significant competition from the internet that can serve to compromise customer loyalty. However, viewing online as the only adversary would be a big mistake.”

Stain reasons that in-store designs should ensure technology and online capabilities is always fully integrated and utilised so that retailers have a complete Omni-channel offering in meeting the needs of today’s tech-savvy, time poor and connected consumer.

During the day, Zebra Technologies examined current retail trends and illuminated ways in which its technology offerings can help retailers connect with the consumer more vividly than ever before.

Topics covered included:
* Retail and consumer trends in EMEA;
* Importance of the Store in the Omni-channel;
* The informed Customer: How to improve efficiency and drive profitability;
* Delivering the best online and in-store customer experience;
* Improving agility and visibility.

“With the rapid evolution of technology, retailers need to get to grips with their own technology requirements if they want to keep up with today’s consumer. Retailers who excel in delivering consistency and excellence for their customers are without a doubt going to be future frontrunners,” says Stain.

Zebra Technologies serves 90% of Fortune 500 companies with an installed base, support network and product portfolio that is the envy of its competitors in the EMEA market. The workshop aimed to elaborate on how other territories operate, giving retailers an idea of what their companies can do with technology and how this technology is suited to various store formats, merchandise types and retail applications.

“EMEA is a territory that has two very different landscapes,” says Stain.
“First off, we have emerging landscapes like the Middle East, Africa and Eastern European markets that are challenged with infrastructure capability and the cultural uptake of new in-store technology by the consumer.

“Then you have emerged territories which have subtly different challenges for the retailer such as enabling data visibility to deliver the consumer demands, behaviours characterised by the need to have merchandise fulfilled on their terms via click and collect or home delivery and, with real time parity across shopping channels on things like price.”

Zebra Technologies takes a different approach to emerging markets which is important as, according to Stain, too many retailers are poorly served by technology that is inappropriate and ill-fitted to their businesses and the infrastructure available to them.

Overall it was a thought-provoking day that provided much insight into the customer journey in today’s fast-evolving and frenetic marketplace. Zebra Technologies demonstrated its knowledge of the retail environment in both emerged and emerging markets by offering specific technological applications for particular products that can significantly increase efficiencies.