OPERATIONS

What technologies draw customers to stores?

BY Dan Berthiaume

Retailers looking to create the “Store of the Future” should include a few key technology offerings.

That’s according to a new study from Boston Retail Partners (BRP) in which 55% of consumers are more likely to shop at a store with self-checkout and 57% will choose a store offering automated returns to avoid human interactions and speed the process.

The study, “Special Report: The Future Store,” also revealed that 32% of consumers are more likely to shop at a store offering an augmented reality (AR) experience and 29% would like a virtual reality (VR) experience as part of their shopping environment.

However, retailers are playing catch-up when it comes to in-store deployment of AR and VR solutions. Only 9% offer AR to their brick-and-mortar customers and another 29% plan to within three years. Even fewer (7%) currently offer VR capabilities to in-store customers and 23% plan to within three years.

Other notable findings include:
• 19% of retailers currently offer Internet of Things (IoT) capabilities in their stores and another 36% plan to within three years.

• 23% of retailers currently utilize artificial intelligence (AI) in physical stores and an additional 30% plan to within three years.

“While e-commerce and mobile continue to grow and garner attention, the store remains a key component of the brand experience and the central point of the customer’s shopping journey. In fact, nearly half of retailers plan to increase their number of brick-and-mortar stores,” said Ken Morris, principal at BRP. “However, the role of the store continues to change. The advent of the digital world offers consumers new ways and ‘places’ to research and shop. These digital possibilities, along with mobility, have modified consumer expectations and behaviors, and retailers must transform to succeed.”

Findings are taken from the BRP Consumer Study and the 20th Annual POS/Customer Engagement Survey.

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