While retailers pour money into technologies such as artificial intelligence and chatbots as well as platforms aimed at bolstering shopper engagement, a just-released consumer survey revealed that people are not ready to embrace these changes.
The survey of more than 1,000 U.S. consumers conducted by app platform provider IFTTT also showed a shift in shopping preferences toward online versus in stores. However, the in-store experience is critical. The survey also revealed the top frustrations of consumers during the holiday shopping season.
IFTTT said as 60 percent of retailers have reported increases in technology spending to boost personalization efforts as well as strengthen social media presence, the survey data “reveals that the average consumer may not be ready to embrace cutting-edge shopping technologies and require further education on their benefits,” researchers at the firm said, adding that 68 percent of respondents “have never used a retail chatbot and 23 percent don’t even know what chatbots are.”
“Additionally, 83 percent of people do not trust a robot to shop for them, but would trust a robot (rather than a drone) to deliver their online orders,” the authors of the report said. “Robots have competition though — 66 percent of shoppers would prefer their gifts be delivered by ‘Rudolph’ this holiday season instead of a drone.” But when it comes to virtual reality, 59 percent were open to using the technology with home decorating.
Regarding online versus in-store shopping, 36 percent of respondents said they “would rather stay at home and shop with Alexa or Siri than go to the mall with family or friends.” Subscription services also scored high as a preference with 36 percent of respondents using at least one and 53 percent of shoppers saying they were “interested in the idea of using such services.”
“The data also suggests that retailers shouldn’t give up on the in-store experience, as only 34 percent of consumers report shopping more online than in-store,” the report noted.
Linden Tibbets, chief executive officer of IFTTT, said shoppers want “instant notifications on the hottest products” as well as to “automate the addition of items to their shopping lists with Alexa, and to monitor the price of their wish list gadgets.”
“Our research and work with retailers shows us that all consumers are different, but offering them the tools and experiences they want to tailor their shopping experience is key to maximizing retailers’ technology investments,” the ceo noted.
When asked about what frustrates them the most during the holiday shopping season, 27.7 percent of respondents said it was “being notified that an online order’s delivery is delayed to post-holiday.” And 21 percent said it was “waiting more than 15 minutes in a checkout line.” About 20 percent said the learning that an item was out of stock was most frustrating.
The survey also revealed that nearly 40 percent of respondents have used one-touch checkout features online, and nearly 80 percent said they have used self-checkout in a retail store. Five percent of respondents said they have used voice-assistant shopping lists such as Alexa or Siri. And 14 percent have used mobile wallets.
In regard to sales expectations, authors of the report said “with consumer confidence ticking upward, retailers may not have to drop prices so low this year. In fact, 41 percent of shoppers don’t expect in-store discounts to exceed 30 percent this holiday season, and 32 percent expect the same for online discounts.” And when it comes to finding the best sales, 35 percent of respondents cite Black Friday as the best deal day.
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