How to Digitally Transform the Australian Retail Experience

powerretail By Powerretail | 27 Aug 2018

A recent survey conducted by SOTI proved Australians want faster in-store retail experience, complemented by customer-service enhancing technologies, with the survey delivering some other surprising results.

A recent international study conducted by SOTI, surveyed consumers in Australia, North America, the UK and Europe and results showed some key indicators of consumer shopping habits and what they want to see more of in the retail sphere.

Immediacy is critical for retailers

The importance of ‘immediacy’ within a physical store is critical for retailers with research indicating that 64 percent of consumers choose to visit a store to buy a product there and then. According to Michael Dyson, Managing Director Australia & New Zealand SOTI, “above all, consumers want in-store technology that saves them time.”

In an age where almost everything happens instantaneously, retailers need to understand that shoppers want this immediacy to extend into all areas of retail avenues. As Dyson points out, “consumers are shopping differently than before, and technology needs to be integrated to meet their needs and desire for convenience.”

Take American make-up business Glossier for example. As you enter their Soho studio, you are greeted by a minimalist interior, with one of each product on display to browse. As you finalise your purchases, sales assistants roam the floor and settle your purchase through their iPads, paying through these iPads as well. Upon paying for your products, you are basically greeted straight away by another sales assistant who has your products all packaged up and ready for you to collect and leave. The process is seamless, effective and it just generally seems less clunky. This structure is the type of immediacy that consumers are talking about.

The SOTI research also discovered that Australian consumers prefer stores that incorporate technologies that automate the purchasing process. More than half of respondents indicated a preference for retail stores that incorporated self-serve technologies which made retail purchases faster and easier. A further 36.78 percent of customers highlighted a preference for stores with queue-busting technologies like mobile payment devices to avoid checkout congestion. This all makes sense, have you ever received customer feedback saying, “loved the queue we had to wait in to pay!” No. Because customers want their purchases and they want them now.

Why Australians go in-store

For many Australian consumers, physical retail stores still have their place as part of the shopping experience. They go towards the creation of a culture that Australians love. When asked what they value most about visiting physical retail stores, 71 percent of respondents said that being able to see, touch and feel the product they were shopping for was an important factor.

Technology delivers a better in-store experience

At the core of it, technology adds to the retail experience. Think of a time you have ever been into an Apple store and been disappointed by how the technology has helped your shopping experience. It just doesn’t happen because technology is there to advance us, not hinder us.

The survey results back this as it showed that 45 percent of Australians prefer in-store retail environments that utilise technology to enhance the customer experience. The same survey that was conducted in the US and UK found even stronger preferences for instore technology, with 76 percent of US consumers and 69 percent of UK consumers indicating they had a better in-store experience when technology was integrated.

Whilst Australian online retail continues to kick goals, their multi-channel partners in their physical stores don’t seem to be making quite the same advances. Where to next? It is something that retailers need to keep asking themselves if they want to stay relevant and in the game.

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