Handheld self-scanning solutions transforming efficiency in retail, according to VDC Research


Handheld self-scanning solutions are transforming convenience and efficiency in retail environments, according to a new report from VDC Research. 

Retailers are facing intense pressure to provide differentiated and engaging in-store shopping experiences to their customers in the face of growing e-commerce and same day delivery offerings. Physical retail establishments still account for 85% of retail transactions in the US, and these businesses must decide how to leverage mobile and digital solutions such as self-scanning and self-service technology in order to stay competitive.

Handheld Self-Scanning Capabilities Retailers Currently Support or Plan to Enable

The grocery segment is currently leading self-scanning solution investments as grocers look to improve the shopping experience. To that end, retailers are beginning to deploy more sophisticated features such as shopper analytics, context- and location-aware promotions, and mapping services. Many ISV’s and SI’s offer data collection and analysis services to retail clients using data from multiple touch points such as the POS and self-scanning devices. Retailers can bring these actionable insights into the physical store when making decisions.

According to VDC, Europe is currently the largest market by far for handheld self-scanning devices, although the market in the Americas will also grow at a significant rate through 2023. “The deployment of Amazon Go was a catalyst for handheld self-scanning adoption in the Americas,” said Spencer Gisser, Research Analyst at VDC. “Grocery stores in the U.S. in particular saw customer preferences and expectations shift towards easy, technology-enabled self-checkout and rushed to implement new solutions,” Gisser explained. To avoid investing in costly dedicated handheld self-scanning hardware, many retail organizations in the Americas are pursing apps that run on shoppers’ smartphones rather than dedicated devices. The large number of devices in EMEA will account for a significant replacement rate over the coming years whereas growth in the Americas will primarily stem from green field opportunities.

Self-scanning and self-service technology is part of a broader transformation among shopping experiences. “The most profound effects will take place once these solutions are integrated with other systems and processes involving locationing, customer information, and security,” Gisser said. However, the market is struggling to understand how to deploy these solutions effectively. “Although many retailers are concerned that introducing these systems will increase theft, we have seen innovative strategies that have actually improved security and customer satisfaction.”

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