There’s an expectation that shopping technologies should be more efficient, effective, enjoyable and personalized, according to research released this week from category growth design firm ChaseDesign. However, consumers’ high expectations of in-store technology are coming up short at many retailers.
Self-checkout, mobile applications and store mapping are the leading technologies that customers want more of, ChaseDesign found. To meet consumers’ demands, 83% of retailers anticipate increased amounts of technology will be deployed in stores in the coming years.
Shoppers surveyed also rated retailers that deliver the best technology experience, with Walmart coming out on top, followed by Target and Kroger. Although these retailers were lauded for delivering the best technology shopping experience for consumers, it was also noted that discount chains are “catching up.” Dollar store channels are delivering a digital experience that is as good as, and in many cases, better than other mainstream retailers, according to the report.
“The bottom line learning from the survey is that it’s important for brands and retailers to address these findings and deploy meaningful experiences for shoppers that save them time, are easy to use and have clear value,”said Joe Lampertius, president of ChaseDesign|JGA, in a statement. “There’s an immediate opening for companies to offer more relevant and worthwhile experiences through tech at retail. Experiences that guide shopper behaviors and help them learn about, compare and find new relevancy for products. Done well, this can result in more shopping experiences that result in conversion to purchase,”
Trends in technology will require brands and retailers to rethink how they move forward to reengage shoppers and where they should invest for new growth, the 2022 ChaseDesign|JGA Tech at Retail Survey indicated, adding that marketers need to focus on connecting tech with shopper’s needs, making it easy and enjoyable to interact with.
No other area of the store has changed as dramatically as checkout, says the report, and the move to automation is supported by shoppers, with 57% of shoppers saying they use self-checkout “all the time.” Of the shoppers surveyed, 67% said they experienced failure at self-checkout, 54% said they have never experienced contactless checkout, 11% said they have used contactless checkout “frequently,” or “all the time” and 59% said they “never” or “rarely” use scan-and-go.
The most-used technology, by 67% of consumers, is the smart phone. More than 55% of shoppers are interested in text messaging, chatbot or voice assistants that can help guide them and provide product information while in the store, says the report, and 67% of shoppers use their smart phone while shopping, with 55% using the retailer or brand app.
The research also found that shoppers want better Wi-Fi connectivity in-store, personalized rewards and coupons connected to their frequent shopper account. Shoppers expect technology at retail to be easy to understand and use, noting that they want retailers to make scan-and-go technology easier to use and understand and they want to be able to scan and compare products. Additionally, consumers indicated that they would like out-of-stock notifications, as more than 70% of shoppers reported that out-of-stock issues are a problem and they want technology and retailers to help guide them toward solutions. Many shoppers (76.7%) are also interested in interactive displays that provide information on different brands.
The top ways that shoppers use their phones in-store are for price checks and comparisons, discount and promo look-up and for coupon access or downloads, said the report. The top benefits of using tech at stores were: getting the best price; convenient, fast checkout; receiving loyalty rewards; getting tailored coupons; and quicker shopping trips.
Money and time saving was also noted in the report, stating that 29% chose “saves time” as a top factor in using technology at stores, and 13% chose “saves money” as a top factor in using technology at stores.
“The Tech at Retail Survey confirms that time is the new currency. Most shoppers in our survey said they use technology that ‘saves them time’ when shopping,” said Lampertius. “The bottom line is that when leveraged properly, tech at retail enables shoppers to enjoy shopping more by making trips quick, cost effective and personalized.”
In 2021, food retailers invested an average of 1.3% of total sales, in excess of $1.5 billion, in technology upgrades, and 83% of them said they expect to spend even more before this year is out, according to FMI’s The Food Retailing Industry Speaks 2022 report, released last month.
Nearly three-quarters of grocers (73%) reported experimenting with new technologies to improve the customer experience and 80% said they’re paying for technology to improve efficiency.
ChaseDesign|JGA conducted their online survey in September through research platform, mPulse. The firm surveyed 1,000 consumers between the ages of 25-54.