Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Shoppers not satisfied with self-service options and retail tech: report

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A new global survey has found retailers are not meeting the expectations of shoppers when it comes to integrating technology into the every day shopping experience.


While nearly 92 per cent of Canadian shoppers use in-store technology, including self-serve checkout and in-store pickup, many believe these machines are making the shopping experience worse.


The survey was conducted by Mississauga-based company SOTI, who canvassed 1,000 Canadian consumers. The report highlights the growing demand for enhanced in-store interactions, personalized recommendations and real-time inventory access, all of which are crucial for fostering customer loyalty.


More than three-quarters of those surveyed noted they experienced a lack of staff assistance when faced with issues related to self-service machines.


31 per cent of shoppers say they encountered situations where retail staff had to resort to ordering items online using in-store devices, undermining the seamless shopping experience consumers crave.


There is also a pressing need for retailers to optimize their supply chains to meet the demands of Canadian consumers.


46 per cent of consumers expect same-day pick-up for items ordered online and 41 per cent will seek alternative options if delivery or pick-up takes more than two days.


“For retailers, the focus should be on manageability of the technology and not just the fact that it’s the shiny new device out there,” said Shash Anand, senior vice-president of product strategy at SOTI.


“Retailers must invest in AI-driven solutions and device management to deliver consistent, personalized, and convenient shopping experiences across physical and online channels.”


Walmart is one retailer who is leading the way in introducing a generative AI-powered search experience for iOS customers, which suggests relevant products for consumer queries ranging from football watch parties to bridal showers. 


77 per cent of shoppers in the survey expect real-time updates on the status of their orders, highlighting the importance of supply-chain visibility.


Security also remains a top concern for most Canadian consumers, who expressed reservations about sharing personal details online or through in-store devices.


This mistrust extends to data collection and payment technologies used by retailers, with close to half of respondents saying they are worried about financial fraud and identity theft.


“Consumers have every right to be worried,” said technology analyst, Carmi Levi.


“Whenever you share personal or confidential information with a retailer, you’re trusting they will do right by it, but we have seen so many examples in recent months where they aren’t doing right by it and they have not earned our trust.”


Anand says by investing in advanced technologies, optimizing supply chains and prioritizing security, retailers can create a more seamless shopping experience that drives loyalty and sales growth.

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