Over 50 percent of millennial consumers feel that they are “better connected” and able to find information more quickly than retail associates, according to Zebra Technologies’ Global Shopper Study — indicating that rising shopper expectations are still outpacing retailers’ in-store technology investments.
As consumers increasingly conduct product research both before coming to a store and while shopping, associates who aren’t equipped with technology on the sales floor are automatically at a loss. And when a customer turns to their mobile device instead of to employees or in-store technology, brands lose an important engagement opportunity — and contribute to the rise of show-rooming.
It’s on retailers to address this disconnect, but shoppers appear ready to accept a fix: More than half believe store associates armed with the latest technology — from iPads to IoT devices — improve the overall shopping experience. And of course, availability still matters: Technology only assists when there are enough associates present on the floor to quickly and seamlessly help shoppers.
“Consumers around the world believe that retailers have come a long way over the past decade to enhance the in-store shopping experience, but shopper expectations continue to rise at an exponential rate,” said Jeff Schmitz, senior vice president and CMO at Zebra Technologies. “Sales associates armed with the right technology tools are better equipped to serve customers and increase revenue by providing the visibility and actionable insight into product information, inventory and fulfillment options that bring the online experience into the physical store.”
Other key takeaways from the study below:
- Shoppers want faster delivery, but many aren’t willing to pay for it: While approximately 66 percent of shoppers want next-day or same-day delivery and 37 percent prefer same-day or sooner, 27 percent would not want to pay for shipping at any speed, the report states. As such, free shipping — and in-store pickup options — continue to reign supreme.
- Retail customers want a variety of options: 80 percent of those surveyed purchase items in-store and either take them home or ship them from the store to their home. Shoppers are also taking advantage of other fulfillment options, such as buy online – ship to home (64 percent), buy online – pick up in-store (34 percent) and buy online- ship to alternative location (15 percent).
- The use of tablets in stores is improving the shopper experience: More than half of surveyed shoppers believe technology is improving the shopping experience with 57 percent specifically citing store associates using tablets.