More Automation and Tech for Retail—But Will It Stress Store Networks?

By 2025, retailers will automate as much as 70% of routine tasks, according to a study conducted by Incisiv in collaboration with Verizon Business. This, in turn, may create challenges for retail store networks. Retailers are prioritizing investment in automation because they see it as a means of making operations more efficient.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is one of the key technologies that retailers expect to implement to streamline operations. The researchers expect its use to increase nine times by 2025. AI adoption will be uneven, however: Specialty and department stores will deploy AI more heavily in comparison with grocery and general merchandise stores, researchers said. Real-time inventory management also ranks high on retailers’ investment wish list due to supply chain uncertainties.

Retail Store Networks

Retail store networks will be stressed by the adoption of cloud applications, an increase in customer devices and more devices used by store associates, the researchers found. The stress will be exacerbated if low latency is required and if devices are called upon to process large files.

Other findings from the “2023 Connected Retail Experience Study”:

  • Mobile point of sale (POS) and curbside pickup sensors will significantly increase across all retailers. The trend will be greatest among specialty and department stores.
  • Robotics it will increase over the next few years, particularly among grocery and general merchandise retailers.

“As the number of mobile and connected devices continues to accelerate in stores, the need for faster speeds, less network downtime and a better ability to manage peak traffic will become more critical,” Scott Lawrence, Verizon Business’s Senior Vice President Global Solutions said in the press release. “The key is to build a network architecture that will give in-store applications access to the right bandwidth at the right time, and enable them to scale up or down as needed.”



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