Monday, 1 May 2017

Irish consumers demanding more technical innovation on the shop floor

Research undertaken by Fujitsu Ireland has found that Irish shoppers expect more from their in-store retail technology experience with 73% stating that they trust online retailers to deliver a better in-store technology experience then today’s high street retailers. Furthermore 71% suggested that if online retailers such as Amazon or eBay launched physical outlets, they would quickly become their preferred stores to shop in.

‘The Forgotten Shop Floor’ research by Fujitsu Ireland found that while many shoppers say that they make use of in-store technology every time they shop (24%), around three in ten (29%) stated that the technology on offer in-store was either ‘quite often poor’ or ‘very poor’. Complaints about services on offer range from it being too slow (45%), unreliable (32%) and immobile (14%).

The research also found:

· 50% of Irish shoppers see browsing and buying in person as their primary reason for visiting a high-street store, followed by over a quarter (27%) who go mainly for the “in-store shopping experience”.

· Nearly a third (31%) of Irish shoppers believe that staff are poorly trained on the technology they are expected to use, which is in stark contrast to 91% of retail staff who are confident in their prowess with in-store technology.

· The in-store experience can be enhanced by technology with half of consumers (49%) stating that it serves to speed up the service they receive. A third (34%) cite the ability to access additional product information, while personalised offers and vouchers (25%) are also a draw.

· Well over half of shoppers say that both the quality of in-store technology directly affects their loyalty to a particular retailer (59%) and that they have proactively chosen to buy an item from one store over another because they knew they would enjoy a better technology experience (57%). More still (76%), say that a positive technology experience would increase the likelihood of them purchasing additional items.

· Looking to the future, almost half of those surveyed (46%) stated that technology could be used to send them personalised offers when in-store. A third (36%) are intrigued by the prospect of smart mirrors that can display additional product information, while stores being able to place goods in a connected car (24%), and the concept of interactive augmented reality displays are similarly enticing for many (24%) shoppers. Customer service chatbots, biometric payment methods and even stock shifting drones were also found to be of interest.

As well as shoppers, the research looked at the in-store experience of retail staff. In contrast to the views of many shoppers, 90% of retail staff stated that in-store technology helps them to serve the customer better. Two thirds (65%) of those surveyed suggest that they use in-store technology to serve customers multiple times a day, with mobile stock monitoring (53%), smart checkouts (51%), mobile point of sale devices (43%) and customer loyalty systems (46%) amongst the most utilised systems and services.

Kenneth Keogh, Director of Business Development Fujitsu Ireland commented on the research; “This research is very revealing as it illustrates how the consumer online experience and evolving role of technology in our day-to-day lives is driving expectations. The idea that the traditional high street retail outlet is facing extinction due to ecommerce is not supported by the research, rather there is a need for retailers to understand and transform their offering to meet the needs of consumers. This blurring of the lines between the physical and digital means that it is up to retailers to ensure that they can provide more services, greater speed and a personalised experience for shoppers on a day-to-day basis. Ultimately, digital transformation is the key to delivering on these requirements, thus helping the high street to be sustainable and maintain its central role in communities across Ireland.”

The full report is available to read here.