Consumers demand greater use of retail technology

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Technology investment in a retail company not only impacts the buying behaviours in the short term but also their ongoing brand perception and brand loyalty in the long term. This is according to Epson Europe’s ‘State of European Retailing’ whitepaper has revealed high levels of consumer demand for greater use of in-store technology to enhance the shopping experience.

Across Europe, 67% of consumers stated their belief that, ‘to succeed retailers needed to use more in-store technology to enhance the customer experience’, with particular focus being placed on improving queuing times, the omni-channel sales experience and the in-store experience. The potential costs of failing to use technology to improve the overall customer experience were proven to be substantial.

Support from the right technology infrastructure is fast becoming a standard consumer expectation with some of this highlights from the consumer involving convenience of payment and availability of products in multiple platforms.

The importance of providing fast payment options

Across Europe, 29% of respondents revealed that they often leave stores without buying anything as a result of long queues at the tills. Additionally, 25% of people said that they often go to a competing store to buy the same item if there is a long queue in the first store. Consumer stated a desire for more efficient self-service payment points with 87% saying they considered them critical or valuable to a brand. 42% of those surveyed said they wanted mobile payment solutions to be available in-store.

The importance of an integrated Omni-channel experience

Almost one in five European consumers reported that they often purchase products online while they are looking at the product physically in a different retailer’s store. This suggests that retailers are potentially losing sales from around 20% of their own footfall to rival brands with better omni-channel retail presence or offers. To confirm the above, when asked 55% of people said that poor integration across the different sales channels is likely to negatively impact brand loyalty.

Consumers expect technology to deliver better service, individual treatment and fun

Epson’s research highlighted that 38% of actual purchasing is now undertaken online in Europe, with 89% of people stating that the primary driver for online shopping was that it was ‘entertaining’. Perhaps in response to this, 64% of surveyed consumers said they believed introducing a virtual shopping experience in-store would drive more retail activity, while 63% believed deploying virtual shopping technology would also drive the return to the store by consumers.

Retailers must offer personalised promotions within three years

Epson’s in-depth research further revealed that 72% of European consumers currently consider personalised offers and incentives from brands to be of importance, with 64% saying that personalised offers increase brand loyalty, and two thirds expect personalisation to become even more important to them over the next three years.

Also, while two thirds of consumers told us they were happy for retailers to record their buying habits in order to tailor specific communications and offers, 67% said they’d like offers to be based on what they tell and express to retailers rather than on past buying habits. Additionally, 72% of consumers felt that in 3 years’ time they will be more proactive in how they communicate and share information with retailers.

Traditional values still garner loyalty

Despite the opportunity afforded by technology and the ability to use it to provide a more tailored retail experience, the research also highlights that retailers must not lose sight of traditional values: for example ‘good product quality’ (79%) and ‘knowledgeable sales staff’ (91%) were reported as the leading two factors most likely to positively influence brand perception and loyalty.

The survey ‘State of European Retailing’ highly relates with developing markets across the globe with retailer technology catching up with vast countries. consumer behavior across these countries is almost similar therefore retailers have the duty to employ the highlighted measures.

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Winfred Kuria
Winfred Kuria is a self-constituted web content writer in charge of Tech News and Events Publicity at Kachwanya.com. She will communicate in the simplest way possible with an aim of changing the world one mind at a time.
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