The acceleration of ecommerce and digital shopping that the pandemic unleashed has changed shopper’s expectations of the shopping experience in physical stores. There’s now an expectation that shopping technologies can, and should, offer a more efficient and effective, more enjoyable and more personalized shopping experience. Unfortunately, retailers and brands are largely not living up to their customers’ high expectations.
There is a substantial opportunity for technology to make shopping more experiential, helpful and rewarding. However, far too many brands and retailers are delivering tools like augmented reality, virtual reality, QR codes and other experiences that leave shoppers scratching their heads because their value and ease of use haven’t been properly communicated to customers. This pushes shoppers back to the more basic tech tools at retail. These findings and others are revealed in new research from ChaseDesign|JGA, the category growth design agency.
These trends will require brands and retailers to rethink how they move forward to reengage shoppers and where they should invest for new growth. The 2022 ChaseDesign|JGA Tech at Retail Survey concludes that marketers need to focus on connecting tech with shopper’s needs, making it easy and enjoyable to interact with.
“There’s an immediate opening for companies to offer more relevant and worthwhile experiences through tech at retail. Experiences that guide shopper behaviors and help them learn about, compare and find new relevancy for products. Done well, this can result in more shopping experiences that result in conversion to purchase,” said Joe Lampertius, President of ChaseDesign|JGA.
Other key findings from the ChaseDesign|JGA Tech at Retail Survey include:
- The most used technology while shopping is the smart phone (67% of shoppers use one). This is the first place many marketers and merchandisers need to turn to deliver greater relevance and utility in shopping.
- The retailer’s app is a critical point of engagement for the shopper and could be given more purpose in the store experience.
- Self-checkout is the most used technology at retail and shoppers want more of it, both in-stores and in more stores. No other area of the store has changed as dramatically as checkout, and the move to automation is supported by shoppers.
- Contactless checkout is still scaling, as only 11% of shoppers claim to have used it “frequently,” or “all the time.” It is making traction in the convenience and hospitality channels.
- Shoppers rank Walmart, Target, and Kroger as the very best at delivering the best tech at retail experiences for shoppers.
- Dollar store channels are delivering a digital experience that is as good as, and in many cases, better than other mainstream retailers.
- Wayfinding or “store mapping” is the #2 item shoppers mentioned as a specific technology capability on their phone that sways their choice of retailer.
- More than 70% of shoppers report out of stock issues are a problem and want tech and retailers to help guide them toward solutions.
- More than 55% of the shoppers are interested in text messaging, chatbot or voice assistants that can help guide them and provide product info while in the store.
- Most shoppers (76.7%) are interested in interactive displays that provide information on different brands, which gives retailers the ability to orchestrate buying behavior.
“The Tech at Retail Survey confirms that time is the new currency. Most shoppers in our survey said they use technology that “saves them time” when shopping,” said Lampertius. “The bottom line is that when leveraged properly, tech at retail enables shoppers to enjoy shopping more by making trips quick, cost effective and personalized.”
Many brands and retailers are already taking advantage of the trends cited in the survey. To take advantage of the ubiquity of smartphones, for instance, iRobot deployed a QR program developed with ChaseDesign for retail locations globally that delivers specific Roomba Robotic vacuum and Braava Mop product information. Another example is the American Express Shop at Barclays Center, which takes self-checkout to a higher level by featuring a just walk out shopping experience created in partnership with ChaseDesign and Momentum. It allows American Express Card Members to scan their card, pick up the food, beverage or fan gear they want, and just walk out with charges showing up on their statement.
“The bottom line learning from the survey is that it’s important for brands and retailers to address these findings and deploy meaningful experiences for shoppers that save them time, are easy to use and have clear value,” concluded Lampertius.