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51% of consumers report the more technology available at their disposal, the more enjoyable it is for them to shop

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More than half of UK consumers believe that an abundance of technological innovations at brick-and-mortar stores is the key to an enjoyable shopping experience, finds a new study.

Some 35% of UK shoppers say that hand-held or cart-mounted mobile devices to check inventory availability and pricing deliver a more pleasant in-store experience, while 25% believe that the ability to make their purchase on-the-go as opposed to at the cash register is also a boon, reveals the survey conducted by SOTI, which questioned more than 1,000 consumers across the UK on their shopping habits and preferences.

The majority (59%) of UK consumers say a sales assistant’s access to mobile technology improved their shopping-encapsulating how technology can be adapted to enhance in-store salesman interaction, rather than obliterating the human touch. 

“As shoppers have a much better experience when technology is integrated, it’s more important than ever for retailers to deploy mobility management to ensure that the technology works properly to meet consumers’ needs. There is nothing more disappointing than a kiosk that doesn’t work or a barcode that doesn’t scan,” explains Carl Rodrigues, the chief executive, and president at SOTI.

Kiosks and digital signage are also amongst the favourable techno-players with 65% of respondents, which they believe (62%) help them to navigate a physical store easier and makes it (65%) faster for them to check out.

Perhaps the most surprising finding is that the clear majority (80%) say that they would be comfortable in a retail setting where only self-checkout technology was offered, highlighting a growing preference for shopping experiences that reduce the need for orthodox payment transactions.

“Our research shows that the availability of mobility solutions now has a key influence on the physical shopping experience, highlighting an urgent need for retailers to innovate through technology,” says Rodrigues. “With the value of online retail sales in the UK doubling over the last five years, retailers have to find ways to get more consumers into physical shops.”

Nevertheless, shoppers aren’t just looking for emerging technologies to the in-store experience. As well as transforming the way people purchase goods, technology is also influencing how these goods are delivered-and consumers are warming up to these new methods.

In fact, 68% of UK buyers say the would be comfortable with the new shipping methods offered by retailers, including in-home delivery (41%) and autonomous vehicles (22%).

“This is where technology is vital. Consumers don’t view mobility solutions as just being nice to have, they appreciate them for the practical benefits they provide, such as saving time and increasing convenience. Therefore, those retailers that are able to innovate and meet consumer demands will be the ones that thrive, while those that don’t will give their competitors the upper hand, and risk losing out on business,” concludes Rodrigues.

The survey comes as the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reports that high street sales are slumping and that retailers need to start using technology to make real-world stores more attractive. 

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