Retailers ‘ignoring shopper tech expectations’

When it comes to in-store technologies, consumers have heard all the promises but are still waiting on retailers to deliver, according to A.T. Kearney’s latest market survey.

The consultancy polled 1,000 people from various demographic and economic backgrounds about emerging tech used in physical stores, focusing on five crucial technologies:

• Augmented reality (AR) - incorporating interactive digital elements into physical shopping environments.
• Mobile point of sale (MPoS) - enabling smartphones, tablets, or other mobile devices to substitute for traditional cash registers.
• Cashierless checkout - mobile apps that add items to a virtual cart as customers shop and charges the customer automatically.
• Interactive screens - which provide seamless physical and digital integration by allowing customers to scan products for more information
• 3D printing - giving access to on-demand creation of customised products.

While three out of four respondents were aware of at least one of the targeted retail technologies, only one in three have experienced even one of them in their shopping experiences. For example, 45 per cent said they had heard of AR, but never experienced it in a store.

The results were similar for the other technologies: 60 per cent for 3D printing, 40 per cent for MPoS, 36 per cent for cashierless checkouts, and 30 per cent for interactive screens.

However, the research did reveal a nearly 50 per cent increase between the number of consumers who indicated that technology had influenced their shopping choices in the past, to those who expect technology to influence their shopping choices in the future. A.T. Kearney stated that this represents a substantial opportunity for retailers to bridge the gap.

Retail technology that saved time ranked among the most valuable by respondents – 72 per cent of consumers cited technologies that reduce checkout time and 61 per cent cited technology that reduces time spent navigating the store.

However, consumers clearly still want to spend time in stores. Reduced time in trial and sampling ranked lowest in appeal, with only 21 per cent of consumers citing such technology as important to their shopping experience.

“Ultimately, retailers have to make hard choices about which technologies they invest in and the size of those investments,” the report concluded.

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