Consumers embracing 'digital forward' stores, but beware of glitches
More than 80% of 1,033 consumers surveyed by technical software and support provider Boomtown said they have suffered from a technical glitch while visiting a retail store or restaurant, and 28% said such negative technology experiences would result in less frequent visits to the business.
Meanwhile, 46% of those surveyed said positive experiences with technology at stores and restaurants will give them more confidence in a particular brand, and 44% said these satisfying experiences would lead them to more frequently visit that business, according to the report "The Digital Forward Customer Experience: New Expectations and Obstacles for Today’s Storefront."
The survey also found that 63% of consumers who have positive technology experiences with retailers and restaurants will complement the location owner or refer the location to others. For 56% of consumers, a negative technology experience will translate to filing an official complaint.
This report makes the case that consumers are already showing a strong preference for brick-and-mortar retailers and brands that are aggressively using advanced technology. These "digital forward” brands include the likes of Walmart, Target, Starbucks and Best Buy, according to the report.
Leading with advanced technology and digital experiences makes a difference, especially among consumers who tend to choose big-name and chain shops over smaller businesses. Boomtown’s survey found that 57% of respondents said the typically broader range of digital payment options available at larger merchants is important to them, while 50% said the same of the variety of online ordering and local pick-up capabilities these big spots tend to offer.
Furthermore, 49% cited the availability of self-checkout options as important, while a smaller percentage of survey respondents enjoy digital offerings like location-based promotions, in-store Wi-Fi and real-time order information.
Consumers are starting to expect the biggest retailers and brands will have these "digital forward" capabilities, while they expect different experiences from smaller merchants. For example, 51% of respondents said getting personal attention was most important when visiting a local-level merchant.
The study may serve as proof that digital technology is becoming a more integral part of the shopping experience, and show the importance of being able to execute high-tech experiences. But, the survey results also suggest that just having advanced technology in place isn’t enough if it doesn’t work reliably. While offering digital payments support is important to many consumers: 60% of those surveyed also said they have experienced problems with such technology. If retailers can’t get these systems to work consistently, they risk losing customers and the good word of mouth those customers might otherwise have spread.