Shops around the world are investing money in new technologies and innovative experiences. Things like virtual changing rooms, biometric payments, and QR codes require huge investments and claim to be the future of the customer experience. But do customers really want all of these new technologies in their shopping experience?
Not necessarily. A new poll shows that the Majority of buyers They either want to integrate less technology into their shopping experience or they should stay the same. Only 30% of consumers want more technology when shopping.
What does this mean for brands?
Customers are slow to adopt in-store technology
Retailers may think that new technology is the future. Many customers claim that they want technology in their shopping experiences, but they are slow to adopt it when it is actually applied.
The acceptance of technology is even more contrasting, though broken down by generations. 45% of Millennials have used a virtual changing room compared to 2% of Boomers, while 42% of Gen Z have used Augmented Reality when shopping, compared to 19% of Gen X and 1% of Boomers.
It took years for today’s everyday shopping technology, including self-checkout, to be accepted by customers. Now that self checkout is prevalent in most grocery stores and large stores, 70% of consumers say it makes the shopping experience easier. The same goes for the new wave of shopping technology.
Amazon pioneered fully automated checkout with its Amazon Go Store in 2016, but it took years for the technology to spread. There are dozens of cashierless Amazon stores today, and fully automated checkout has spread to many other well-known retailers, including Walmart, Kroger, and numerous restaurants. But it took a household name on Amazon and years for the company to get to that point.
A balanced approach to technology
While retailers shouldn’t stop adding technology to their stores and shopping experiences entirely, they could benefit from a more moderate approach. Chasing technology just because it’s new and shiny can create an overwhelming and chaotic experience for customers.
The best of technology applications meet customer needs to provide seamless and convenient experiences. There has to be a strategic reason for adopting new technology aside from wanting to be an early adopter.
In a post-COVID world, more customers will return to in-person shopping. The main reasons customers want technology in their personal shopping experience are: Money-saving purposes and security, with a breathtaking 87% of Americans now prefer to shop in stores with contactless payment options. Customers also crave the personalization and convenience that can come from in-store technology.
And just because customers may not be that enthusiastic about in-store technology doesn’t mean there isn’t a demand for omnichannel retail that is blurring the line between online and brick-and-mortar shopping.
Even if customers claim they don’t have that much technology, stores shouldn’t necessarily stop adding technology. It’s about adding the right technology to customers, showing their value, and accepting that it takes time for customers to adapt.
Technology-driven shopping experiences can still be the future – as long as they are strategic and geared towards better customer service.
Blake Morgan is a customer experience futurist, keynote speaker and author of the bestseller The customer of the future. Sign up for their weekly newsletter Here.