How should a retail outlet or store be like in the near future, if technology is allowed to play its role improving customer experience? A recent survey by Motorola Solutions has some interesting answers.
In unveiling its recent survey report, Motorola Solutions envisions that the future retail shopping experience will be focused on connecting with customers, enabling store associates and empowering the IT organisation to meet business needs – minus layers of complexity.
The 2012 Future of Retail study, commissioned by Motorola Solutions, revealed that shoppers in the U.S. are least satisfied with the availability of coupons and discounts (45 percent). Forty-two percent are dissatisfied with the time they spend waiting to pay and the availability of store associates, while 41 percent find dissatisfaction in associates' knowledge regarding the status of in-stock items. Thirty-nine percent of those surveyed are not satisfied with the help or level of information offered by associates.
The survey also shows that 41 percent of retailers expect to provide personalised product details, based on previous behaviour, to a shopper's smartphone and more than 35 percent of retailers expect to recognise their customers in the store with geofencing or presence technology. Forty-two percent expect to send coupons based on a customer's location in the store.
Almost three-quarters (74 percent) of the retailers surveyed believe that developing a more engaging in-store customer experience is going to be critical to the business over the next five years. Half of the surveyed retailers felt that integrating their online and in-store experiences would be crucial over the next five years.
Surveyed retailers estimate that by 2017, nearly one-quarter (23 percent) fewer purchases will be completed at associate-staffed fixed point of sale (POS) terminals and instead, roughly half of all transactions will be completed via mobile point of sale (mPOS), or self checkout at a terminal or on a shopper's mobile device.
They also expect their sales from online, mobile and social commerce sites to represent 42.5 percent of sales by 2017.
The Future of Retail study stated that the store will still be a dominant channel for shopping activity. The challenge for retailers is that consumers are now routinely researching single purchases on the web before going to the store. This requires an omni-channel strategy to provide a more seamless experience between retailers' online and in-store shopping experience to meet customer needs and offer accessibility no matter how or when customers are ready to shop.
According to Motorola Solutions, technology will have a leading role in shaping the future retail environment. It will enable the following features at a store:
Shoppers will be connected to associates, who in turn will be connected to one another. Both parties will be connected to all the necessary information regarding the store's products.
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