Shoppers now prefer digital retail experiences to physical ones according to study

Over half of adults will interact with brands through digital and virtual channels as opposed to face to face after the pandemic according to research from Nuance.

The study looked at 10,000 adults across the US, UK, Germany, France and seven other nations to find out whether shoppers habits will likely change post-pandemic.

It found that 51 per cent of UK shoppers would prefer to use apps or a company’s website than go into a bricks-and-mortar branch or store to do their shopping.

A further 26 per cent said they still preferred in-person visits or phone consultations with sales associates meanwhile, 42 per cent of shoppers surveyed said they will choose digital channels such as live chat or email.

Most customers cited convenience (51 per cent) and speed (36 per cent) as the reasons for their choices, with speaking to a real human falling behind at 26 per cent.

“With convenience, speed, and ultimately getting the job done prevailing as clear priorities for buyers, organisations such as retailers, banks, and utilities companies must develop strategies for delivering consistently efficient and effective digital experiences,” Nuance marketing executive Seb Reeve said.

“From slick and secure authentication processes to intuitive AI powered intelligent assistants, technology must be able to manage the personalised needs of customers while seamlessly bridging to human intervention when required at the right moment.”

The research also found that 45 per cent of UK respondents are now more open to using biometrics as a form of authentication when shopping than they were before the pandemic.

“Customers expect immediate and effective conversations with the brands they engage with – whether those conversations are happening on the phone or via a chatbot on a company’s website,” Reeve added.

“With the pandemic creating an increasing comfort, trust, and preference among consumers to use technology when engaging with brands, it will be critical that organisations prioritise delivering superior digital experiences if they want to retain customer loyalty and continue to scale.”

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