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BizReport : Ecommerce archives : September 15, 2015

British shoppers don't want robotic sales staff and drones on the High Street

When digital agency The BIO Agency questioned consumers in the U.K. about how they feel technology will change high street shopping, they found that most aren't interested in gimmicky tech such as drones and robotic sales staff but instead want tech to make the shopping experience more convenient and enjoyable with improved service.

by Helen Leggatt

Most U.K. consumers (84%) believe that shopping in stores on the high street will see many changes over the next ten years. One in five (18%) even believes that, within just five years, many stores will shut down and be replaced by 'click and collect' lockers.

However, despite the media attention given to 'gimmicky' technology, such as drone deliveries, that's not what British consumers want. Sixty percent of the 2,100 respondents surveyed online for The BIO Agency by YouGov said they would be unlikely to use digital assistants to help them shop in-store and as many again (58%) said they would be unlikely to use robot sales staff. Negative attitudes were also expressed for facial recognition software (52%), on-demand drone delivery (48%) and 3D printing of products (45%).

So, what sort of technology will consumers use? Peter Veash, CEO of The BIO Agency, believes consumers are more interested in "convenience and improved service". When consumers were asked what would make them more likely to shop in-store rather than online the most popular answer, among 56%, was being able to try products before making a purchase - the age-old 'hands on' shopping preference. Avoiding delivery charges was cited by 46% as being a reason to shop offline followed by cheaper prices in-store versus online (42%), instant gratification (41%), supporting local retailers (37%) and an easy returns process (35%).

According to Veash, "retailers need to focus on things that will truly make a difference to in-store shopping, such as cutting queueing time by giving customers the option to pay via their own device without visiting a till point - in fact, 42% of the people we surveyed said they think tills will be replaced by smart device payments within the next five years".

Image via Shutterstock

Tags: instore, offline, shopping, technology, U.K.

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