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July 1, 2019

US consumers embracing new retail technologies

By Beth Wright

US consumers are embracing the use of retail technology to improve their shopping experience, including smart dressing rooms, augmented reality, and virtual fit, the findings of a new report show.

According to Consumer View, a quarterly report on consumer behaviour by the National Retail Federation (NRF), 63% of consumers say retail technologies and innovations have improved their shopping experience on mobile devices while 66% said they have done so in stores and 80% online.

“Technology has become part of our everyday lives, and consumers are open to adopting technologies that make shopping easier,” says Mark Mathews, NRF vice president for research development and industry analysis. “Retailers know this and are embracing investments in technologies that improve customer service and the customer experience whether it’s online, in store or on mobile devices.”

There are numerous opportunities for retailers to simplify shoppers’ path to making a purchase, the report states. Consumers are interested in technologies that show whether a product is in stock (55%), help them compare prices or read reviews (49%), make it easier to find a product or its location (47%) or try an item before buying it (38%).

“Consumers are very interested in solutions that take the uncertainty out of shopping,” report authors say. “The ability to address these needs is already shaping consumers’ decisions on the brands and retailers they shop.”

While many of the technologies retailers are deploying are still in the early phase of consumer adoption, initial consumer attitudes toward them are positive.

The report found that 89% of those who have tried in-app store navigation would try it again, along with 88% of those who have used smart dressing rooms, 86% for augmented reality, 83% virtual fit and 82% virtual reality.

In addition, 69% of those who have tried mobile payments have been satisfied, along with 67% who have bought an item online and picked it up in-store and 63% who have used self-checkout.

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