Retail automation refers to the use of automation technologies and processes to carry out different retail operations. Various benefits associated with retail automation include real-time information flow across critical systems that perform traditional transaction functions at point-of-sale (PoS) terminals; efficient store management to prevent losses and monitor the availability of products to avoid out-of-stock situations, and improved customer service with interactive kiosks and self-checkout systems; among others. Retail automation combines smart devices and equipment to offer high-quality services to customers and enhance business operations. It is adopted in hypermarkets, supermarkets, fuel stations, departmental stores, quick-service restaurants (QSR), and healthcare retail pharmacies to ensure their smooth and effective functioning. Increasing adoption of retail automation solutions in emerging economies incorporation of augmented reality and virtual reality in the retail sector, and development of new retail automation solutions act as growth opportunities for the retail automation market in the coming years.
The warehouse segment is projected to lead the retail automation market from 2017 to 2023
Increased number of stock-keeping units (SKUs) has led to expansions in the sizes of warehouses, thereby making it difficult to carry out the effective management of warehouses using manual labor. Thus, the emergence of warehouse automation has enabled companies to increase the efficiency of their warehouse operations. Warehouse automation enables adoption of automated conveyors, robots, and automated storage and retrieval systems, which require limited involvement of warehouse employees, to carry out different operations. Increased investments are being made across the globe to carry out the warehouse automation to improve the productivity and flexibility of different processes carried out in warehouses.
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Among end-users, retail automation is expected to witness the highest demand in single item stores during the forecast period
Single item stores are dedicated stores that offer a specific category of products. These can be apparels and consumer electronics stores as well as quick-service restaurants. In such stores, losses and discount costs that are related to product stocking are crucial as seasonal products lose their value quickly. Thus, retailers use electronic shelves labeling (ESL), which allows them to change the prices of products instantly and maintain an inventory of their products, thereby reducing losses and simultaneously saving efforts of their staff. Single item stores are adopting different automated technologies to boost the efficiency of their operations, enhance customer experience, and cater to the requirements of their customers. This, in turn, is leading to the growth of the single item stores segment of the market across the globe.
North America led the retail automation market in 2016
North America was the largest market for retail automation in 2016. The growth of the market in this region is driven by increased demand for sophisticated and efficient retail services and a high standard of living of its population. The adoption of retail automation by retail companies to offer easy and quick point-of-sale (PoS) services is also fueling the growth of the market in North America. The presence of top retailers such as Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (US) and the Kroger Company (US) in North America is also contributing to the growth of retail automation in the region.
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Datalogic S.p.A (Italy), NCR Corporation (US), First Data Corporation (US), Toshiba Global Commerce Solutions Inc. (US), Fujitsu Limited (Japan), KUKA AG (Germany), Honeywell Scanning and Mobility (US), Zebra Technologies Corporation (US), Wincor Nixdorf AG (Germany), Posiflex Technology, Inc. (Taiwan), Pricer AB (Sweden), and E&K Automation GmbH (Germany) are some of the major players operating in the retail automation market.
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