Survey: Customer experience tech rivals personal attention from staff
According to a study from Boomtown, “digital forward” brick and mortar stores and restaurants — primarily national stores and fast casual restaurants — have raised consumer expectations with their on-premise tech-investments. The omnipresence of those solutions, according to the provider of IT-support for stores and restaurants, is “increasing pressure on regional and smaller, independent stores and restaurants to transform their own customer experience or risk being left behind.”
An accompanying survey of 1,000 consumers found that in-store tech, such as online ordering capabilities, digital payment processing and self-checkout systems, is “now a critical part of a ‘good customer experience,’ rivaling personal attention from staff and traditional loyalty programs that have always kept consumers coming back for more.”
For instance, asked about expectations for local stores, 38 percent of the survey respondents liked online ordering and local pickup and 29 percent expected location-based promotions. Asked about regional stores, 49 percent liked a wide range of digital payment options, 36 percent liked online ordering and local pick up and 28 percent wanted self-checkout options.
The study found that technical glitches are fairly common, and that many consumers experiencing inefficient or malfunctioning technology will frequent that business less often and recommend it to others less. Common problems included slow or malfunctioning electronic payment systems, faulty or unavailable WiFi, incorrect inventory information online, ineffective customer support calls and malfunctioning self-service kiosks.
Consumers who prefer to shop at small, local/independent stores were more likely (14 percent) to encounter technical glitches while shopping/dining on a regular basis compared to all consumers (nine percent).
On the other hand, the survey found that a positive experience due to smooth, well-functioning technology in-store or in-restaurant led to positive action; including:
- A rise in brand confidence (46 percent)
- More frequent visits to the business (44 percent)
- More recommendations to others (43 percent)
- More frequent purchases (41 percent)
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do small independent stores and restaurants get punished for lacking good in-store tech solutions widely available at larger chains? What advice would you have for smaller regionals or independents in gauging in-store tech investments?