Retailers fail to address in-store issues that technology can improve

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70% of consumers are familiar with Artificial Intelligence-based technologies and believe that it can transform their shopping experiences, yet 66% say that they have not experienced the technology in a retail environment, according to research from Vista Retail Support.

The survey reveals that 67% believe it should be a priority for retailers to implement futuristic technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Augmented Reality (AR) to enhance their in-store shopping experiences and increase convenience.

“Clearly, there is an overwhelming appetite for technologies that address the bug-bears of the physical shopping experience,” says James Pepper, technical services director, Vista Retail Support. “However, the research also reveals what could be a major blind spot for retailers, since the majority of consumers don’t feel that the requirement for technology that increases convenience is being fulfilled”.

“Respondents cited their biggest complaints as items being out of stock, a general lack of customer service advisors present in stores and too much time spent queuing at checkouts. These are all areas that can be improved by existing technologies such as AI-based virtual assistants and apps that allow shoppers to pay on their smartphones instead of joining lengthy queues. There’s a reason these solutions are still deemed ‘futuristic’ and this is due to the lack of implementation taking place in brick and mortar stores.”

The majority of the survey’s respondents (70 percent) say that they would be confident using an AI-based “virtual assistant” kiosk in a retail store in order to avoid the common aggravations of the in-store shopping experience. Furthermore, 61%of those who would find value in a virtual kiosk believe it would help them find out about products they would like to purchase that they might not have been aware of, suggesting that retailers investing in the technology could see an increase in sales as a result.

When asked which types of retailer would benefit most from the adoption of AI and AR-based technologies, consumers’ top choices were fashion and electronics stores followed by domestic appliance stores. Grocery and convenience stores were identified as the places where consumers least expect the technology to enhance their shopping experience.