UK shoppers embrace technology – but are rapidly becoming insatiable
British shoppers are taking to new mobile-based technologies enthusiastically as they browse and pay for goods and services – but this rapidly ups the ante and they instantly expect more.
As a result, retailers need to offer promotions and incentives consistently across all channels to maintain brand loyalty and provide positive experiences to their customers, according to a study of consumer habits by payment tech company Verifone.
Overall, it found that familiarity with new payment methods is rising; 38% of respondents in London were either very or somewhat familiar with contactless payments, and 21% were very or somewhat familiar with mobile wallets. Yet cash remains the primary choice of payment in the UK for 65% of the respondents, followed by chip and PIN transactions and online payment methods.
Conducted among 1,085 UK adults last month by Censuswide, the survey gives a view of consumer attitudes toward in-store and online shopping experiences, and how they want to be treated by retailers. It also examined the extent to which the application of new technology in retail environments has shifted expectations and customer satisfaction.
The effect of the rising prominence of technology in retail experiences is clear, with 56% of respondents saying the breadth of new ways to pay in-store is important to them. Three out of 10 supported improvements made in the range of payment methods at the point of sale, while 32% saw mobile applications that stored card details as important or very important.
The results also show that e-commerce continues to evolve and bring new opportunities to retailers, with in-store (75%) and online (72%) shopping now practically equal in popularity. However, only 10% of respondents had shopped by mobile phone. And, the same number said they now expect less human interaction because of new technology, showing that the personal touch remains crucial to the retail experience.
The introduction of more technology has also shifted expectations, with consumers wanting retailers to use it to enhance their marketing and the way discounts are offered. Better sales promotions or discounts are now expected by 35% of respondents in exchange for their loyalty through a more connected approach to commerce, and 32% expect to be treated consistently across all payment methods, marketing channels and whether shopping in-store or online.
“We are seeing UK consumers begin to take to new technologies with enthusiasm, indicating that mass adoption won’t be far away,” says June Felix, President of Europe for Verifone. “However, shoppers also want to feel that retailers value and understand them more because of these technologies. Therefore, it’s imperative for these new technologies to provide a connected commerce experience that is clear and relevant to the consumer. Otherwise, retailers risk frustrating and even eroding trust with their customers.”