NRF study says customers dig retail tech
Customers are finding that retail technology is making the shopping experience better on mobile, in stores and online, according to a new study by the National Retail Federation (NRF).
The study found that 80 percent of consumers believe retail technologies and innovations have improved their online shopping experience, as reported in Just Style. Sixty-six percent said that technology improved their in-store experience and 63 percent said that it had improved their experience shopping via mobile. Technologies that indicate if a product is in-stock, aid in price comparison, provide reviews, make finding products easier and let people try out products before they buy them all generate significant interest from consumers. Solutions that remove the uncertainty from shopping are major drivers in customers selecting retailers and brands.
Between 80 and 90 percent of respondents rated in-app store navigation, smart dressing rooms, augmented reality, virtual fit and virtual reality as retail solutions they would try again.
The increasing appreciation of retail technology across mobile, online and physical retail channels could be a response to a number of trends. In the past few years there has been:
- An increase in the willingness of customers to try out technology and install retailer specific mobile apps;
- A generation that grew up with a baseline of technological comfort joining the workforce and becoming consumers in charge of more of their own purchases;
- A better understanding on the part of retailers about how consumers want to utilize technology to interact with a retailer;
- An increasing number of use cases for which technologies like AR and VR have proven effective;
- Increased appreciation among consumers for newer omnichannel order fulfillment options like BOPIS;
- Expanded use of in-store technology in both large stores and boutiques to provide entertaining shopping experiences;
- Broader adoption of mobile checkout solutions.
Customers report a level of satisfaction greater than 60 percent for solutions such as mobile payment, BOPIS and self-checkout, according to the NRF study.
- US consumers embracing new retail technologies – Just Style
- Shoppers may finally be using retail apps – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What is driving the changes in consumer sentiment about retail technology? Do the numbers indicate retailers need to use technology to provide a good customer experience or is there more going on than that?