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Consumers embracing digital technology on the high street, but to check for cheaper competitors, finds benchmarking study

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A quarter of smartphone users have used a bar code scanning app while in store to see if they can get them cheaper elsewhere, showing that retailers are going to be forced into looking at how they differentiate their businesses for an increasingly mobile savvy in-store audience, finds the latest eCustomerServiceIndex (eCSI) results from eDigitalResearch and IMRG.

The study, published late last month, also suggests that shop floor staff are also starting to make more use of mobile technology – typically smartphones and tablets – to help consumers who aren’t packing a smartphone to check on stock levels and order out of stock items in store.

The report also reveals that 40% of people surveyed have given feedback digitally about a high street store after seeing a survey URL in a store or on a receipt – but of those people, 88% gave their feedback via a PC whereas only 7% use their smartphones to give immediate feedback: so its not all bad news then.

“We are seeing the dawn of ‘MEcommerce’, with digital now truly coming to the high street with consumers using technology to provide feedback and check prices with suppliers whilst the staff within stores are utilising the digital technology to offer the consumer excellent customer service by checking stock levels,” says Derek Eccleston, Research Director at eDigitalResearch.

David Smith, Managing Director at IMRG, adds: “Developments in mobile-commerce have led to the phenomenon of the ever-connected consumer, who can access multiple retailer channels concurrently, while instantly comparing and contrasting with similar offerings on competitor sites. Although only 7% have provided immediate feedback to the store, people do update their friends on Facebook about being stuck in a long queue, receiving negative customer service or poor hygiene conditions. The need for high standards is more important than ever, as any individual retailer store is now a potential showroom for millions.”

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