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What connected customers expect of future shopping: study

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A significant minority of connected customers expect that by 2020 they’ll be using emerging technologies, from Bitcoin to augmented reality (AR) in their future shopping experiences, a new report suggests.

Already, says the Beyond Digital, What’s next for businesses in 2020 report from Infomentum shoppers expect a good online customer experience and say that if they don’t get it they’ll discuss it on social media.

The report questioned more than 1,000 UK office workers in order to assess what a new connected generation – Generation C – expects both now, and by 2020, of the way they shop, work and live.

These are shoppers who are using smartphones (83%), rather than laptops (78%), and tablet devices (65%) to access the internet.

Some 77% said that if they struggled to access a website, they would leave immediately, while 89% would discuss negative experiences on social media, and 89% would write a negative review online. Some 55% said they wouldn’t bother to ask customer services for help. On the upside, 96% said they would share their positive experiences.

Asked what the most important web features were for today’s shoppers, 76% cited clear navigation, 60% speed and loading times, and 51% effective search functions.

Looking to the not-too-distant future, contactless payment is expected to be the main form of payment by 2020, when one in five respondents also said they expected to see digital payment methods such as Bitcoin become mainstream. Some 16% are expecting 3D printed product downloads to be possible by 2020, and 15% want augumented reality to enable them to try before they buy. Then, 14% said they would like to see drone deliveries by 2020.

Vikram Setia, partner and chief commercial officer at Infomentum, said: “The next five years will see dramatic changes in the current buyer journey. As new technology alters the marketing, sales and delivery process, retailers must be open to innovation and willing to completely rethink their approach.

“By 2020, products may be previewed in AR, paid for in Bitcoin, created to order through 3D printing, and delivered by drone to a customer’s door. All while being monitored and managed through the real-time feedback of social media.

“While this array of new technologies may seem daunting for many businesses, retailers must be prepared to think about how such tools are likely to impact their businesses at a long-term strategic level. Those that fail to develop the necessary technology roadmap, will have already fallen behind.”

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