Irish shoppers exasperated by retail outlets’ in-store tech
Consumers would flock to online retailers like Amazon if they launched physical outlets
Complaints about the technology on offer in shops range from it being too slow, unreliable or immobile to it simply just looking bad. Photograph: Getty Images/iStockphoto
Use of in-store technology such as self-checkouts may be increasingly common but many Irish shoppers find it exasperating, according to a new survey that shows high street retailers need to raise their game tech-wise.
The survey indicates that while such technology – which also includes digital enquiry points, stock-monitoring applications and mobile tablets – is being rolled out primarily to improve customer experience, it is in many cases having the opposite effect.
In fact, the Fujitsu Ireland study shows 73 per cent of shoppers trust online retailers to deliver a better in-store technology experience than bricks and mortar stores. Furthermore, it shows that if ecommerce giants such as Amazon or eBay were to open physical outlets here, most shoppers would happily flock to them.
“The blurring of the lines between the physical and digital means that it is up to retailers to ensure they can provide more services, greater speed and a personalised experience for shoppers on a day-to-day basis, said Kenneth Keogh, director of business development, Fujitsu Ireland.
The study findings derive from a survey of 500 consumers and 500 retail employees. It indicates that while close to a quarter of Irish shoppers use some type of in-store technology each time they buy something offline, the majority feel that the type of tech on offer is generally poor.
Complaints about the technology on offer range from it being too slow, unreliable or immobile to it simply just looking bad.
Almost a third of Irish shoppers also believe that retail staff are poorly trained on the technology they are using. This compares to 91 per cent of employees who expressed confidence in their use of such tech.
More than half of all shoppers surveyed said they had proactively chosen one retailer over another based of their in-store technology with even more saying a positive technology experience would increase the likelihood of them buying additional items from the same store.
According to the research, half of all shoppers see browsing and buying in person as their primary reason for continuing to visit stores, with over a quarter saying they go to experience an in-store shopping experience.
While consumers may not exactly be enthralled by many retailers’ use of technology, staff are with over half of those surveyed saying it has helped them to save time, improve the customer experience and provide a broader range of information of products and services.
“The idea that the traditional high street retail outlet is facing extinction due to ecommerce is not supported by the research, rather there is a need for retailers to understand and transform their offering to meet the needs of consumers,” Mr Keogh added.