CSCMP's Supply Chain Quarterly
March 29, 2020
Forward Thinking

Retailers look to 5G, AR for competitive edge in 2020

Nielsen study says smart supply chains need to anticipate consumers' demands.

Companies in the retail and consumer packaged goods (CPG) sectors are poised to adopt new technologies such as 5G wireless networks, augmented reality (AR), and frictionless commerce platforms as they head into 2020, according to an analysis of consumer purchasing habits by the consumer data analytics firm Nielsen Holdings plc.

Those adoptions will be driven by companies' efforts in the coming decade to manage challenges such as a growing need for trust and transparency and for accelerated time-to-purchase, Nilesen said. That his because consumers live in a world of growing online privacy concerns, misinformation that threatens brand credibility, and a need for greater transparency in what was previously considered "behind-the-scenes" information about a company's operational footprint.

According to Nielsen, answers to these challenges lie in "fusing the overall consumer experience with smarter, intuitive tech," from pop-up shops with cashier-less payment to automated warehouses in urban centers. "Consumers require zero resistance from discovery to assessment to shopping to payment to fulfillment. Speed and convenience will drive behavior—and every millisecond reduced is a battle won," the Nielsen report said.

In pursuit of those goals, manufacturers will face increased pressure to produce locally, import fewer goods, and search for economic differentiation, the report said. Those moves will help them battle the winds of protectionism, trade wars, slower overall economic growth, and the increasing effects of climate change.

At the same time, smart supply chains will anticipate and react to consumer demands. "Brands and retailers who win the 2020s will succeed not based on their front-end pricing and promotion analytics, but the granularity and end-to-end depth of their data science," Nielsen said.

Supporting that quest will be an Internet of Things (IoT) for retail that is revolutionized by 5G networks. "With 5G, the Internet of Things finally becomes a mainstream reality, providing end consumers with access to more data at their fingertips with virtually no response delay," Nielsen said. "Meanwhile, 5G will transform smart packaging and delivery, through applications like smart sensors that can collect real-time data to ensure viable internal package conditions for food and medications."


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