Home Retail To make the right retail tech investments, look at consumer comfort

To make the right retail tech investments, look at consumer comfort

by Ozva Admin
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Customers have certain expectations and preferences about how, when, and where they want to be served. Brands that can deliver on those ideals secure customer loyalty and gain clear market advantage, but predicting where those expectations will lead can be challenging. The rate of change in retail technology is so rapid that knowing where to place your bets for the next must-have digital commerce experience can be one of the highest risk, highest reward decisions an ambitious retailer can make.

That’s why it’s important to look at not just quantitative data on adoption rates or market penetration of the latest technology, but also qualitative data on consumer comfort with new and emerging technologies. Customers are ready to offer their loyalty to brands that strike the right balance between what they want now and what excites them in the future, and studies like compelling trade it can help get retailers ready to create experiences that strike that balance.

What is convincing trading?

Compelling Commerce is the first longitudinal study of its kind to provide a data-driven look at consumer comfort across 75 technologies. The report helps ambitious business leaders make sound investment decisions today, with a ranking of all surveyed technologies and a green/yellow/red framework to make it easy to evaluate them at a high level. By looking at changes in consumer comfort over the years, the report also reveals trends and insights that make it easier to make the right bets for the future.

The report also includes a variety of technologies across other industries, such as healthcare, travel, and transportation, giving us insight into some of the deeper forces at play. By examining the broader technology landscape, it’s easier to see how customers perceive certain core technologies (eg, artificial intelligence, altered reality, smart technology, etc.) differently depending on context.

At one end of the spectrum are ‘Green Zone’ technologies, which customers expect brands to use, such as self-checkout kiosks and mobile apps. Not all brands will make use of all Green Zone technologies, but they give us a good idea of ​​what consumers think is at stake and can help brands identify where they may be lagging in the market.

At the other extreme are ‘Red Zone’ technologies, which consumers are not yet ready for in a broader retail environment, such as drones and in-store facial recognition. Brands contemplating these technologies should predominantly view them as an opportunity to explore new concepts and learn information that can help chart a course for the future. Typically, these technologies should only be tested on a limited scale, to mitigate the risk of brand damage.

Arguably the ‘Yellow Zone’ technologies are the most eye opening for retailers as they exist at a tipping point. Technologies in this category, such as self-scanning shopping carts and customer service chatbots, are poised to become fast movers if convenience and consumer adoption continue to trend upward. But if implemented carelessly or before the technology has reached maturity, they could be rejected outright before they gain a firm foothold in the market and can languish on the sidelines much longer than they should while consumer confidence is restored. consumer (think: electric vehicles 20 years ago).

‘Yellow Zone’ technologies: ready to explode

Assuming you’re not struggling to catch up with Green Zone implementations, the Yellow Zone offers the best prospects for what will drive growth in the coming years.

AR Shopping Tools

Augmented reality shopping ranks 36th in the survey, a considerable jump from 43rd where it used to be, just ahead of the middle of the survey and right in the heart of the yellow zone. With related technologies like digital clothing measurement at #37 and AR smartphone apps at #28, AR-enhanced shopping is an area brands should start to seriously consider. The successes of early adopters like Sephora Y IKEA it means that very soon, customers will start to expect some sort of AR enhancement to all of their commerce experiences.

The increased exposure and familiarity AR shopping apps have had in recent years, especially during the pandemic, have taken AR from an exciting idea to a digital experience with the potential to significantly impact business outcomes. By allowing users to virtually interact with products in a pseudo store experience, AR could provide a high degree of personalization for customers, helping them find the right products at the right time with less risk and higher satisfaction rates. Additionally, AR can make the shopping experience much more accessible. It gives shoppers the ability to try things out in their own homes and allows someone to shop ‘locally’ from anywhere in the world.

That being said, they are still in the yellow zone for a reason. Given that these technologies are fairly new and their exposure to a broader audience is still relatively low, brands need to look at ways to integrate them into their existing customer experience as an optional feature while refining exactly where and how they can enhance the shopping journey.

autonomous purchases

Autonomous purchasing involves the interaction of different technologies, such as artificial intelligence, scanning software, and mobile technology. It also ranges in complexity, from the familiar self-checkout to the most advanced cashierless automated supermarket pioneered by tech giants like Amazon.

With standalone purchasing, it’s primarily about two things: ease of use and overall usefulness. Self-checkout offers a great example of this. When it was first implemented, people struggled with it, and for a while, it seemed likely that the technology would fail. The utility was obvious enough—an opportunity to speed up checkout for low-end shoppers with shorter lines and no chatter—but the experience was hard enough to use that it was often outweighed by the effort. By placing a cashier nearby to support self-checkout interactions while users became accustomed to the machines, retailers made the experience more user-friendly and therefore easier to adopt. It is now ranked number 3 in our overall ranking.

Smart shopping carts at #32 and cashierless checkout at #26 are poised to see the same growth. The convenience afforded by tellerless technology, in particular, will likely lead to wider use in the coming years, especially as its dependent technologies mature in parallel. A particularly interesting use case is the autonomous shopping capability to facilitate alternative store formats, such as pop-up stores and store-within-a-store. In the case of the former, retailers could easily introduce a new product line or try a new market without having to worry as much about staff or the POS, since most operations would be automated, allowing for more experimentation. lower risk.

Automated customer service

Ranked 33rd in the ranking, customer service chatbots have undergone a drastic evolution since their early e-commerce days. With the rise of omnichannel retail, chatbots are being used in increasingly complex customer journeys that span platforms and touch points, such as shopping online and returning to the store. However, these technologies are not likely to replace their human counterparts anytime soon, and brands should be careful about using them at potentially highly charged times.

Brands risk alienating their customers in some of their most vulnerable brand moments by relying on chatbots to address complicated and nuanced interactions. Where chatbots excel is in their potential to automate menial, data-driven tasks like rescuing abandoned shopping carts or facilitating low-risk purchases. They offer a step towards greater omnichannel capabilities, especially when delivered with a complete customer profile via API, and an opportunity to integrate machine learning and AI as part of delivering a more relevant customer experience. By relegating these data-rich tasks to chatbots, customer service agents and store associates can focus on delivering the personal, empathetic experiences that make them so valuable, winning customers when it matters most and building loyalty that lasts. it can last a lifetime.

my take

Customer loyalty is a precious commodity that must be earned. When he shows that he knows his clients, from their wants and needs to their dreams and doubts, he is already on the right track. But when he makes the right investments that differentiate his brand and impress his customers, he’s ahead of the game. Investing in secure technologies will help you create an experience customers expect; Investing in technologies that are on the cutting edge will make you a change agent in your space.

Verify the full compelling trade report Learn more.

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