• Home
  • >
  • Labor
  • Survey Shows Retail Workers Prefer Practical Tools over AI

Survey Shows Retail Workers Prefer Practical Tools over AI

Can retail technology actually hinder the customer experience? According to a new survey, a surprisingly large number of workers feel that way.

Forget AI – today’s retail workers are most eager to be equipped with tools that help them tackle inefficient tasks, particularly when interacting with customers. That was a key finding from research conducted by Scandit, a company focused on smart data capture.

The new findings were part of a report called Frontline Retail Revealed: Tech Pains and Gains. The research was conducted between November 2023 and January 2024 and included a survey of 2,000 store employees across several retail sub-sectors in the U.S., UK, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, and Japan.

“It’s clear that store associates are struggling to deliver exceptional shopping experiences for customers, and our report shows that this often stems from the limitations with the current technology available to them,” noted Christian Floerkemeier, CTO of Scandit, in a statement.

Key findings from Scandit’s survey of full-time employees, gig workers, and contractors include:

  • 45% of respondents want faster scanning capabilities, especially in volume-intensive workflows like grocery stores (21% ranked it as their top priority).
  • Advanced capabilities like ID scanning (51%) are more desired than newer technologies like AI (35%).
  • When it comes to daily tasks, technology is seen as most helpful for shelf management (84%), customer service (83%), and order picking for online orders (81%).

The survey indicated that technology designed to aid customer interactions might actually hurt those crucial interactions and cause retailers to forfeit potential sales. Scandit’s research found that store workers are most frustrated when they must leave a customer to check information (68%) and when they are unable to answer a customer’s question (48%).

However, more than three-fourths (76%) of store workers agreed that the tech devices they’re equipped with on the job free them up to spend additional time with customers.

The Food Institute Podcast’s “Foodservice Gamechangers” Series

Get to know the men and women behind the scenes of foodservice distribution in a new, limited series from The Food Institute Podcast called “Foodservice Gamechangers.” Recently, Pat Mulhern, advisor to The Food Institute, sat down for brief conversations with seven of the most influential foodservice merchandising and distribution leaders. Highlighting their food career journeys and management styles, the conversations feature insightful thoughts on what may lie ahead for manufacturers, distributors, and operators in foodservice.