66% of consumers think retail technology has improved in-store shopping


80 per cent of consumers believe advances in retail technologies have improved their online shopping experience, as retail executives continue to roll out new innovations.

According to a new study by the National Retail Federation (NRF), four out of five consumers believe shopping technologies have improved their online shopping experience, while two thirds agree it has also improved in-store experiences and 63 per cent thought they had helped mobile shopping.

The report, which was produced alongside IBM, also states that the “marriage of artificial intelligence with automation” is beginning to effect real change in the retail industry.

Eighty per cent of retail executives said they expect to be using intelligent automation by 2021, in areas ranging from the supply chain to customer acquisition.

READ MORE: Can emerging technology maintain personalisation in the age of cashierless retail stores?

The areas which consumers say are most frustrating also appear to be the ones in which technology can help the most, with 37 per cent stating that the initial research phase of shopping is the most arduous, and a significant 47 per cent stating they’d be most interested in seeing tech solutions here.

Conversely this dropped significantly at the point of purchase, where retailers have already invested most in technology, with just 15 per cent considering it a pain point and 17 per cent stating that tech solutions could help.

A significant 52 per cent of customers said it was “very important brand or retailers have” systems which allow them to see if an item is in stock, while 43 per cent said tools to compare prices and reviews was most important.

Though customers clearly have an opinion on what needs improving with tech solutions, many were unaware of the majority of emerging retail technologies.

While 43 per cent of respondent said they were aware of voice assistants and 34 per cent were aware of social shopping, just 19 per cent were aware of virtual fitting tools, 15 per cent were aware of smart dressing rooms and 21 per cent were aware of virtual and augmented reality applications.

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