Consumers have welcomed technology into the shopping experience and are more likely to return to retailers that offer digital innovation, according to new research conducted by SOTI, the world’s most trusted provider of mobile and IoT device management solutions.
The survey, which questioned more than 1,000 consumers across the UK on their shopping habits and preferences, found that self-service technologies and mobile devices are now playing a key role in improving the in-store retail experience for customers. 69 per cent of respondents agreed that technologies such as kiosks, digital signage, and self-checkouts improve their shopping experience. 62 per cent said that technology helped them to find what they need and two thirds (65 per cent) agree that technology makes it faster for them to check out.
Perhaps the most surprising finding is that the clear majority (80 per cent) said they would be comfortable in a retail setting where only self-checkout technology was offered highlighting a growing preference for shopping experiences that reduce the need for traditional payment transactions with retail staff.
“Our research clearly shows that the availability of mobility solutions now has a key influence on the physical shopping experience, highlighting an urgent need for retailers to innovate through technology,” said Carl Rodrigues, CEO and President, SOTI. “With the value of online retail sales in the UK doubling over the last five years, retailers have to find ways to get more consumers into physical shops.”
Enhancing human interactions
A third (35 per cent) said the use of hand-held or cart-mounted mobile tools to check inventory availability and pricing helped to deliver a better in-store experience and 25 per cent cited that it was the ability to make their purchase on the sales floor as opposed to the cash register.
Furthermore, 59 per cent said a sales assistant’s access to mobile technology improves their shopping experience, highlighting how technology can be used to enhance human interactions as opposed to removing them completely.
These figures highlight how important digital transformation in retail is to business success, with more than half (51 per cent) of respondents saying that the more technology available, the more enjoyable it is for them to shop.
“As shoppers have a much better experience when technology is integrated, it’s more important than ever for retailers to deploy mobility management to ensure that the technology works properly to meet consumers’ needs. There is nothing more disappointing than a kiosk that doesn’t work or a barcode that doesn’t scan,“ Rodrigues explains.
But consumers aren’t just looking for innovations to the in-store experience. As well as transforming the way people purchase goods, technology is also influencing how these goods are delivered – and consumers are warming to these new methods.
More than two-thirds (68 per cent) of respondents said they would be comfortable with the concept of new shipping methods offered by retailers, including in-home delivery (41 per cent), drones (25 per cent) and autonomous vehicles (22 per cent).
“This is where technology is vital. Consumers don’t view mobility solutions as just being nice to have, they appreciate them for the practical benefits they provide, such as saving time and increasing convenience. Therefore, those retailers that are able to innovate and meet consumer demands will be the ones that thrive, while those that don’t will give their competitors the upper hand, and risk losing out on business,” concludes Rodrigues.
Innovation in mobility management now allows retailers of all sizes to adopt digital points of contact in-store to improve the customer experience. Mobile technology within the retail industry has both an employee and customer impact, requiring seamless experiences that are built to last and easy to manage. When downtime is not an option, SOTI MobiControl is an essential solution for the retail industry to manage the chaos of connected devices.
SOTI surveyed 1000 consumers across the UK from 18-60 years old. The survey was conducted during April 2018 via Survey Monkey.
Duncan is a technology professional with over 20 years experience of working in various IT roles. He has a interest in cyber security, and has a wide range of other skills in radio, electronics and telecommunications.