Many retailers are identifying mobile print technology as a key spending priority for this year.
A new survey from Innovative Retail Technologies (IRT), which was sponsored by Brother Mobile Services (BMS) has revealed that retailers are planning to invest in mobile print technology in 2016. The survey also revealed that advanced functionality and interoperability are top drivers of retailers’ demand for this technology.
The survey included responses from more than 100 retailers from large chains to small independents, focusing on in-store operations, as well as warehouse, supply chain and direct-store-delivery. The new research, builds on an earlier IRT survey of more than 500 retailers to determine the retail industry’s tech spending priorities for 2016. That survey revealed that printers were the top in-store hardware investment planned, closely trailed by mobile and traditional POS hardware.
“The new research highlights the mobile printing capabilities that retailers consider most important as they make decisions on where to invest. They’re seeking technology innovations that can support associates as they engage with customers anywhere in the store, or to implement pricing optimization strategies in the move toward real-time pricing. The retail industry is evolving quickly, leveraging best-in-class printing functionality and interoperability to improve the shopping experience, build loyalty and, ultimately, boost retail revenues,” said David Crist, president of Brother Mobile Solutions.
Broad Segment of Retail Surveyed
The Retail Survey drew responses from a broad segment of retail businesses, with over 30% coming from electronics/computer/cellular/office supply merchants, grocery, mass merchants and department store operators. Other participants included apparel, footwear and home goods retailers, drug and convenience stores, book, music and video merchants, and sellers of retail services, such as beauty salons, health clubs and florists.
The retail job titles of the respondents included owner, CEO, vice president of IT, chief information officer, chief operating officer, merchandise managers, e-Commerce, loss prevention and marketing managers.
More than half of respondents indicated that their organizations planned to invest in mobile printers this year, with 43% planning to invest in mobile POS hardware and more than 30% saying they would invest in non-POS enabled devices for store associates.
Top Performance Criteria
Asked which performance features are most important to the mobile printer purchase decision:
- Reliability – cited by two-thirds of the overall sample
- Durability – cited by 60%
- Speed – cited by just over half
Among large retailers, those with more than 500 stores, speed was the top priority at 91%, followed by reliability at 75%. In addition, size and weight were cited as key by 46% and 42% of the respondents respectively, with half of these indicating that they preferred small, lightweight printers that can be conveniently carried on a belt clip.
Connectivity Options Top of Mind
Asked which connectivity options and accessories are most desired, Bluetooth, WiFi, spare batteries, and chargers led the open-ended response count. Those retailers with more than 50 stores show a preference for USB charging options (68%). And, while cost ranks high for the sampling as a whole, the larger merchants indicated that ease of integration is a top buying criteria, compared to 43% of the entire sample.
“Our 2016 Tech Spending Survey and the subsequent Mobile Printer Survey illustrates healthy adoption of mobile printers across a wide spectrum of retail segments and sizes. As the mobile device trend moves in the ‘all-in-one’ direction at the behest of retail end users, next-generation mobile printers will continue to play a pivotal role in enabling that evolution,” noted Erin Harris, editor in chief of IRT.