Nearly 70% of shoppers are aware of mobile payment capabilities and 65% are aware of buy online/pickup in-store offerings, higher percentages of awareness than of other other in-store technologies, according to the National Retail Federation’s Consumer View tracking service.
When it comes to other tech, 45% of shoppers said they were aware of mobile/tablet-empowered store associates and 27% said they were aware of visual search. Just 20% said they were aware of augmented reality capabilities, and virtual reality capabilities registered with only 18%.
Consumer View also found that in-store 3D printing and drone delivery are among the new technologies consumers said they are most interested in trying.
Of all the store-related technologies the retail sector would expect and hope that customers are aware of, it is not too surprising that mobile payments and BOPIS registered the most awareness. In each case, more than half of those who said they were aware of each of those technologies actually have tried them, and in both cases that is due in no small part to how many retailers have embraced the capabilities and how heavily they have promoted them.
Consumer View also found that 68% of customers who have tried BOPIS were satisfied with the experience, while 65% of those who had used mobile payments said they were satisfied. Meanwhile, in-app store navigation capabilities earned the satisfaction of 66% of those who had tried those capabilities, though only 35% of all consumers tracked were found to be aware of such navigation features.
Still, awareness and experience doesn’t automatically translate to satisfaction. For example, Consumer View found that more than 40% of consumers said in-store digital displays, tablet-/mobile-empowered associates and messaging apps had no impact on their shopping experience, while one in 10 said it actually made their experience worse.
That’s a troubling finding for retailers that have embraced these technologies with the best of intentions, using each of them to help keep customers more informed and to communicate and engage more effectively with them. The poor satisfaction rating could have something to do with how retailers have implemented these offerings and how well they are executing with a new technology that they may have very little experience with themselves.
Succeeding with any new technology can sometimes be a long process. That's even true of the technologies that have gained mass awareness. BOPIS, for example, was not a slam dunk for Target, which halted an earlier pilot program. However, this week the retailer announced it's expanding a new curbside pickup program dubbed "Drive Up" to customers in Minneapolis-St. Paul.
In the long run, adoption of technologies that make a clear case for improving operational efficiency, customer engagement, cost management or revenue generation will find a place in retailer operations. Awareness is only the first step.