Study: Shoppers want technology that transforms — not replaces — the store experience
For many customers, the ideal digital “store of the future” will streamline payments and make it easier to pick up purchases.
This was according to the “Consumer View,” a study from the National Retail Federation that tracks consumer awareness and adoption rates across a variety of retail technologies.
For example, shoppers are most interested in buy online, pickup in-store (68%) services, in-app store navigation (66%), and mobile payment (65%). Yet, many technologies still fall short of consumers’ expectations, suggesting successful implementation still has a ways to go—even for more mature technologies, the study revealed.
Specifically, more than four in 10 consumers (44%) said their experience with in-store digital displays (44%), tablet-/mobile-empowered associates (43%) or messaging apps (43%) had no impact on their experience. One in 10 said it actually made their experience worse (10%, 8%, 9%, respectively).
Despite wanting more practical solutions, customers are keeping a keen eye on emerging innovations. The two technologies that currently top shoppers’ “must try” lists are 3D printing and drone delivery.
Customers also continue to try new solutions, even if they are not yet mission-critical shopping tools. These include visual search (27%), voice search (21%), augmented reality (20%), virtual reality (18%), and smart dressing rooms (13%).
“While &lsquostore of the future’ technologies dominate the retail conversation, many still remain at the periphery of consumer awareness and usage,” the study said. “Today’s shoppers are much more concerned with the innovations impacting the most fundamental elements of retail: How do I pay for my items and how do I get my purchases?”
Study: Walmart shoppers checking out Whole Foods Market
As Whole Foods Market continues to slash prices at its stores, the chain is attracting competitors’ shoppers — including those from Walmart.
This was according to “Competitive Impact of Lower Prices at Whole Foods,” a report from data intelligence firm Thasos Group.
Immediately following Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods in August, the natural foods grocer has significantly dropped prices on merchandise storewide. This effort has increased foot traffic by 17% year-over-year during the week of the price reductions, which began on Aug. 28.
Walmart’s regular customers accounted for the largest percentage (24%) of Whole Foods’ new customers the week of Aug. 28. Kroger (16%), Costco (15%) and Target (11%) comprised the next largest numbers of new customers.
When it comes to customer defections, Trader Joe’s saw the highest rate, with an average loss of nearly 10% daily customers. This was followed by Sprouts (8%) and Target (3%), the study revealed.
Whole Foods’ new customers overwhelmingly belonged to the same upper income demographic as the company’s traditional customer base. Furthermore, defecting customers came from the wealthiest segment of each competing store’s customer base the week of the price cuts.
Since the price cuts were first announced, foot traffic has settled in at lower, but still elevated levels. The price reductions were too insufficient to attract new kinds of customers, as new customer demographics (including income levels and distance driven to a given store) largely matched those of existing customers, the study said.
“Knowing which stores new customers have defected from, what income levels they represent, how far they traveled to get to Whole Foods, and ultimately, whether they will continue to shop there after trying it out, are invaluable pieces of information for both investors and the stores themselves,” said Greg Skibiski, Thasos Group CEO and founder.
“We all know that Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods has the potential to be a game-changer in the grocery space, and in the &lsquobrick-and-mortar versus online’ battle more broadly,” he added. “It will be extremely interesting to watch the winners and losers emerge from the data over the coming months.”
Report: Online giant has its eye on some French supermarkets
Amazon is exploring its next grocery opportunity — but not in the United States.
The online giant is looking for physical store locations in France, especially Paris. French newspaper Le Monde, which first broke the story, said Amazon has approached various French supermarket operators — including Groupe Casino, Intermarche and Systeme U — about setting up distribution deals or making an acquisition in the country, according to CNBC.
Bidding on a supermarket operator is not new territory for the e-retailer, which purchased Whole Foods Market in August for $13.7 billion. Since Amazon’s is only eyeing 15 locations this time around, some sources are speculating that the units could be a way to expand the company's Amazon Go grab-and-go concept. The cashless convenience store is currently in a private beta test with only Amazon employees and located in Seattle.
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