The retail industry is at a critical point where consumers experience a gap between their shopping expectations and the reality in stores. As the retail sector continues to evolve, the industry faces challenges in rolling out in-store technology.
According to the new global retail report ‘Consumer Demand for Digital Transformation in Retail’ (PDF) from SOTI, retailers are confronted with the high expectations of consumers. Shoppers seek seamless in-store interactions, personalized advice and instant access to inventory information, both online and in-store, to ensure ongoing loyalty.
New technology and the consumer experience
While consumers desire technology to enhance their in-store shopping experience, retailers’ offered technologies do not always meet their expectations. Despite the fact that 91% of Dutch consumers use in-store technology, many believe these devices degrade the shopping experience.
Dutch consumers point to challenges in the store, such as a shortage of staff to assist with problems with handheld scanners (56% of users). Furthermore, as many as 41% of users complain that they were unable to print a receipt at the self-service checkout.
The research indicates that consumer expectations have increased significantly, largely due to advanced personalization and seamless processes available online that currently cannot be matched by in-store technologies.
To respond to this, retailers must invest in AI-based solutions and device management, allowing them to deliver consistent, personalized and convenient shopping experiences, both in stores and online.
Retail supply chains must be real-time
Optimizing the retail supply chain is critical as consumers now expect real-time information, efficient product availability and fast delivery both in-store and online. In the Netherlands, 71% of consumers expect to be aware of the status of their orders at all times, highlighting the importance of efficient visibility throughout the supply chain.
Consumer expectations are changing, and it is therefore crucial that companies respond to this. With AI-powered diagnostic intelligence and proactive support solutions, issues can be easily identified and resolved before they impact operations and consumer experience. By integrating location, signal strength and speed data with critical business information such as inventory levels and delivery status, AI can ensure that in-store hyper-personalization can match the seamlessness consumers expect from online shopping.
Consumer trust and data vulnerability
Security is a critical concern in retail. Globally, 76% of consumers are concerned about entering personal information, both online and through in-store devices. This highlights a widespread lack of trust in the technologies used in retail for data collection and payment. As many as 34% of Dutch consumers prefer not to provide personal information to retailers, while 22% do not trust retailers’ security.
Additionally, the study highlights the importance of in-store device security. Consumer concerns include possible exposure of personal data (14%), the risk of the next user accessing this information (14%). In addition, 10% of consumers are concerned during the payment process. Despite these concerns, 45% of Dutch consumers consider in-store devices as important tools to improve shopping convenience and speed. This highlights the need for retailers to balance convenience, security and building trust with those purchasing in the retail environment.