The past year and a half of post-COVID recovery has made one field service übertrend absolutely clear: The digitization of the customer experience, once a nice-to-have feather in the cap of ambitious retailers, has become a do-or-die necessity.
Retail is laser-focused on digitization for two primary reasons:
Reason #1: Ongoing labor crisis increases automation needs
First, the ongoing labor crisis has driven retailers to automate several aspects of the customer journey. Self-checkout technology eliminates disruptions triggered by staffing upheavals. Digital signage helps customers navigate the store without the aid of store attendants. IoT technology measures customer engagement in real-time, while upgraded security systems keep a better eye on inventory and store access without staff intervention.
Reason #2: Personalized shopping experiences require technology investment
The second factor behind the accelerating digitization trend is customer behavior, specifically the heightened drive for a personalized shopping experience. Young consumers, retail’s most coveted audience, want recommendations, cross-device functionality, and above all, a seamless experience. This degree of personalized, curated customer experience is impossible without the data that IoT technology provides through heat mapping, surveillance, and other data collection.
Connecting this novel retail technology and maximizing its efficacy translates into major cabling and networking infrastructure investments. This is apparent in YoY infrastructure growth patterns: The levels of YoY growth in networking and cabling post-COVID far exceed pre-COVID growth levels. Notably, work outside of this CX digitization trend (traditional POS, Desktop/Laptop) is not seeing the same acceleration of growth.
Retail field service leaders going into 2023
We’re seeing this strength of infrastructure work continue. However, there is some hesitancy in the market related to supply chain issues, a potential recession, and a lack of clarity over the staying power of omnichannel. When these factors stabilize (and they will eventually), retailers will exhibit more confidence in a wider array of tech investments. This is a key insight for service leaders planning for 2023.
For more information on how to take advantage of this upcoming opportunity, download our Definitive guide to field service in 2023.