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Jennifer Clark

How Technology Drives Personalized, Customer-Centric Retail Experiences

The personalized shopping experience is more than having a store associate help you browse for your preferred items. It’s walking in and having a coupon for that store appear on your smartphone. It’s checking in at a hotel directly from your mobile device, allowing you to avoid the lines. It’s not having to comb through an email to find out if you remembered to specify a room away from the elevator. It’s having easy access to deals, your customer loyalty numbers, and being able to track your lost luggage all from your handheld technology.

While it might sound impersonal and robotic, it actually provides more insight into your preferences as a consumer. Just as beacon technology is prevalent in hospitals (no more lost blood vials or inventory), it is also becoming more widespread in retail and hospitality spaces as well.

According to a Zebra Technologies study, by 2021, it is expected that sensors (for security, tracking customers, status of inventory) will monopolize retailers’ technology investment plans. From grocery stores to top hotel chains, location-based technology provides insight to the customer from the minute they walk in the store—if not before—until they leave. Guest-recognition allows users to receive a dinner reservation via their phone or a pop-up coupon as they enter a grocery store. As a result, the customer has a more tailored and custom experience.

With this in mind, the retail eco-system is poised for big growth and change within just a few years. According to Zebra, also in 2021, 87% of mobile POS devices will scan and accept credit payments from anywhere in the store. Meanwhile 86% of handheld mobile computers with scanners will read barcodes, and 85% of tablets will engage with shoppers to provide detailed product information. This only further illustrates the move toward personalized shopping and bringing the checkout experience to the customer, rather than waiting in long lines or the wrong one.

Zebra cites the top drivers for technology investments as: products that enhance the customer experience, generate revenue, reduce operating costs, keep up with the competition, and improve inventory management. Additionally, 58% of retailers are budgeting for Big-Data solutions for storing and analyzing IoT-generated data.

So, what does this mean for your business? Focus on selling products that capitalize on IoT and Big Data. Align yourself with technology that uses market-basket analysis, customer segmentation, and centralized customer data and intelligence.

Two products from Zebra, the DS2200 Series handheld scanner and the DS8100 Series handheld scanner, were designed with these trends in mind.

Ready to use out of the box, the DS2200 series is easy to deploy and manage. It offers a wide barcode scanning area (0.5 in./1.23 cm to 14.5 in./36.8 cm) for bigger or awkward-size barcodes, along with improved checkout speed and reduced training time. And unlike 1D scanners, the omnidirectional scanning ability means users never need to line up the imager and the barcode. The cost-effective DS2200 series enables SMBs to upgrade to the latest 2D technology at a price comparable to 1D scanners.

The DS8100 series scanners allow workers to capture more transactions while still delivering high performance on hard-to-read barcodes (think faded, distorted, crinkled paper). Its long-lasting battery allows for continuous use during shifts as well as real-time analytics and diagnostics. It comes in both corded and cordless 1D/2D options. As the customer experience needs to remain efficient and personal, the DS8100 series transmits data directly to your applications as well as provides future-proofing to stay in front of rapidly-changing barcodes.

Designed for transportation, retail, manufacturing, and hospitality, Zebra’s newest scanner lines answer the demands of where technology is heading in the coming years. To get started with either of these products or learn more about how Zebra Technologies fits into the future of digital commerce, contact Jamal Strother at, today.