61% of UK consumers expect bricks-and-mortar retailers to offer them virtual reality headsets (VR), multi-experience loyalty apps and other advanced technologies such as voice-activation within three years, a survey by Omnico has found.
56% of shoppers in the survey said they believe VR will help them buy anything from cars to clothing, and holidays to homes. The findings are part of the quarterly Omnico Retail Gap Barometer, measuring the experiences and expectations of 1,000 UK shoppers.
“Consumers are increasingly aware of the ways in which advanced technologies can be used to improve their experience in a store, whether on the high street, in a shopping centre or a retail park” said Mel Taylor, CEO Omnico. “They are accustomed to the ease, the options and product information of online shopping and have a new set of expectations for store retailers to meet through innovation.”
The survey found that 29% of consumers believe VR will improve the process of browsing and purchasing clothes. Nearly a quarter (24%) believe the technology will assist in buying kitchens or making choices about interior decorating, while 22% can see its application in car-buying.
More than a fifth (21%) said they expected retailers to offer them a single loyalty app, making life easier by covering shopping, eating, hospitality and leisure experiences at a single retail park, high street or shopping centre.
The same percentage (21%) expect retailers to offer voice-activated mobile apps, and again 21% believe retailers will offer them wearable, cashless payment technology such as an RFID wristband that works at all the location’s retail and leisure facilities. A fifth (20%) believe robots will be used in stores for stock control, while one in ten believes robots will be preparing meals in in restaurants and fast-food outlets.
In other findings, the survey revealed that consumers want a greater variety of leisure and hospitality experiences from shopping destinations and expect operators to be more flexible and innovative in accommodating their expectations.
“The increased use of advanced technologies to give consumers what they want is part of the convergence of retail, with hospitality and leisure,” added Taylor. “Yet to give shoppers a single, hassle-free experience will require the various brands and operators to invest in the right technology that brings it all together. Without it, there is little chance of taking up the great opportunities that arise from these fast-changing consumer expectations.”
Omnico will be exhibiting at RBTE 2017 on stand number 260. The full report will be available to download on Monday 8th May at www.omnicogroup.com/insights. Omnico’s CEO Mel Taylor will be speaking alongside Thomas Klausbo, Digital Director of Coop Denmark at RBTE about how Coop Denmark is placing customers at the heart of its technological vision, in keynote theatre 1, on Tuesday 9th May at 10:30am.