Zebra Technologies revealed the results of its 11th annual Global Shopper Study, analysing the attitudes, opinions, and expectations of shoppers, retail associates and retail decision makers.
The results show that two-thirds (66%) of surveyed associates believe that if they are equipped with tablets, they could provide better customer service and improve the shopping experience.
Fifty-five per cent of surveyed retail store associates agree that their company is understaffed, and nearly one-half (49%) feel overworked.
Store associates cite frustration with their inability to assist customers as 42% find they have little time to help shoppers because of pressure to get other tasks completed.
Another 28% claim that it's difficult to get information to help shoppers.
Most surveyed retail decision makers (83%) and store associates (74%) concur that shoppers can have a better experience with technology-equipped sales associates.
Meanwhile, only 13% of surveyed shoppers completely trust retailers to protect their personal data, the lowest level of trust among 10 different industries.
Seventy-three per cent of surveyed shoppers prefer the flexibility to control how their personal information is used.
The study also identified diverging expectations on the impact of automation between retailers and store associates.
Nearly 80% of retail decision makers – compared to 49% of store associates – agree that staff checkout areas are becoming less necessary due to new technologies that can automate checkout.
Also, more than one-half of retail decision makers (52%) are converting point-of-sale (POS) space to self-checkout, and 62% are transforming it for online order pickup.
More than one-half of shoppers (51%) believe they are better connected with their smartphones than store associates.
Retailers are investing in edge technologies to combat this gap. Nearly 60% of retailers plan to increase their spend on handheld mobile computers by more than six per cent, and more than one-in-five retailers (21%) plan to spend greater than 10% on rugged tablets over the next three years.