Almost half (41%) of UK shoppers say that the lack of availability of products on the high street is the biggest frustration of shopping in-store – compounded for 59% of consumers who have at some point seen a special offer or been sent a voucher from a store only to find that the product was out of stock when they got there.
The survey by retail IT consulting and technology firm REPL Group of more than 1,000 UK shoppers also reported that 70% feel that apps providing real-time stock information, product recommendations and giving shop staff access to in-depth product knowledge and customers’ buying profiles would enhance their shopping experience.
“We can see that consumers are demanding technology be used to make the shopping experience more convenient. For shoppers, some of the biggest pain points of going to the high street are queues and insufficient stock which can lead to unnecessary and fruitless shopping trips,” says Mike Callender, executive chairman, REPL Group. “By introducing technology to address these issues, store owners have the potential to attract consumers back to the high street and make shopping trips a smoother experience.”
The report also found that more than half of UK shoppers (52%) expect that by 2025 technology will allow stores to be completely cash free and consumers will be able to use apps to browse goods available instore, so they’re ready to be tried on, tested or picked up when they arrive.
“It is important that retailers take heed of these frustrations or risk alienating shoppers further,: says Callender. “With external issues such as parking acting as a deterrent to visiting the high street for almost a third of shoppers (30%), retailers must do everything in their power to improve the factors within their control. Introducing technology which allows consumers to check in-store stock levels before they head to the store would help to overcome much of these frustrations and create a more positive high street shopping experience and ensure shoppers don’t walk away empty handed.”
He concludes: “Many of the responses also reflect that consumers crave a more personalised shopping experience with apps providing recommendations and giving retail workers an insight into shopping profiles. By adopting technology that allows for this, retailers will have the ability to not only address the needs of the consumer and create more bespoke shopping experiences, but also to stand out from both high street and online competitors.”